DD for Borderland Beat
As reported in The News on November 13, 2014:
A federal court confirmed on Wednesday that the former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel Joaquín el Chapo Guzmán will not serve prison time for the alleged possession of firearms and ammunition designated for exclusive use of the armed forces.
While Chapo Guzmán remains behind bars with other pending charges, the 12th Circuit Criminal Court confirmed an injunction resolution against allegations filed against him for possession of guns and ammunition sighting a lack of consistency and completeness in the investigation, according to a statement from the court.
The failure in the accusatory process against the organized crime leader was attributed to the defense attorney demonstrating that Mexican Marines entered into El Chapo’s house without a court order or relevant investigation against his client. The prosecution countered by saying that they are pursuing charges and vow to keep the criminal behind bars.
The defense demonstrated that there were various shortfalls including the unwarranted intervention of arresting officers at the place he was detained and that the case wasn’t first referred to an appeals court,” said the statement.
The 10th district judge in the State of Sinaloa and the third district federal penal process judge from the State of Mexico were forced to retract their order to detain El Chapo on charges of possessing illegal firearms and ammunition.
After 13 years as a fugitive, the infamous crime boss was detained on Feb. 22 by Marines from the Port of Mazatlán. He is being held at the maximum security federal prison, Altiplano.
Charges of drug trafficking are still pending against him and so far there have been no court decisions that would bar him from being detained and tried on those charges..
However considering the number of cartel capos and high elected and appointed officials that have been released from prison in the last few years because their due process rights were violated or the protected witness’s testimony was deemed not credible, or alleged fabricated evidence, anything is possible. And it seems logical that if his rights to due process were violated in his arrest and detention and that resulted in the dismissal of the weapons charges, that would apply to the drug related offenses as well.
(note: according to El Universal in a story published on Oct. 8, 2014, 74 persons who were in the power elite who were charged with crimes like organized crime were released by court decisions between 2010 and Sept. 2014 )
However even if the Mexican courts in their new found zeal to protect civil and constitutional rights (at least for the elites) were to order him released, and unless the prison authorities released him at 4:30 AM without notifying anyone of the the release, and if he could then disappear as happened with Caro Quintero, Guzman still faces the possibility of extradition to the US.
At least seven U.S. federal district courts, including Chicago, San Diego, New York and Texas, have already issued indictments for Guzman on a variety of charges, ranging from smuggling cocaine and heroin to participating in an ongoing criminal enterprise involving murder and racketeering.
Even so, if the Mexican authorities wanted to ensure his silence about the corruption at high levels of government, the courts in Mexico could block and extradition request because of “lack of evidence to support the charges in US.
Remember this is Mexico and anything can happen.