MEXICO CITY (AP) — A federal judge rejected five appeals by jailed drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to avoid extradition to the United States, a week after Mexico said it aimed to send him north of the border by early next year.
The legendary Sinaloa Cartel leader, who has twice escaped maximum-security prisons in Mexico, can still appeal to higher courts and his legal battle against extradition is expected to continue.
In a statement Thursday, Mexico's Attorney General's Office said the judge reviewed and denied two of Guzman's appeals, and threw out the other three with considering them.
Guzman lawyer, Jose Refugio Rodriguez, said he had not been officially informed of the court's decision, but planned to formally acknowledge his notification next Tuesday.
From that point, Guzman's team will have 10 days to request that a higher court review the decision. Once they do that, they will also ask the supreme court to consider the case.
National Security Commissioner Renato Sales said last week that Guzman could be extradited in January or February. He is wanted in the U.S. on drug trafficking and other charges.
Guzman's most recent escape was in 2015. He was recaptured in January and is currently imprisoned in the northern border state of Chihuahua.
There are two pending extradition requests for Guzman from federal courts in Texas and California, and there are a total of six cases against him across the United States.