MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A Mexican judge temporarily suspended a U.S. extradition order on Friday for the fugitive drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman even though the federal attorney general’s office had approved it a day earlier.
No reason was given for the suspension.
Guzman, one of the world’s most notorious drug traffickers, broke out of a maximum security prison earlier this month, escaping in a tunnel built right under his cell.
The United States requested Guzman’s extradition on June 25, just a couple weeks before his escape, but Mexican officials said in January that Guzman would not be handed over because he must first serve time in his home country.
Guzman is wanted by U.S. authorities for a variety of criminal charges including cocaine smuggling and money laundering, and the failure to extradite him has been heavily criticized by the government’s critics since the jail break.
This month’s dramatic prison break was Guzman’s second since a previous 2001 escape.
After eluding capture for 13 years, Guzman was arrested in his native Sinaloa state in February 2014.
Lawyers working on behalf of Guzman had already sought to nullify the extradition order, which could only be executed if Guzman is recaptured.
A ruling on the request by Guzman’s lawyers is set for Aug. 26.
Reporting by Anahi Rama; Editing by Jeremy Laurence