MEXICO CITY Mexico's government received an extradition request from the United States for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman a couple of weeks before the drug lord's escape from prison last Saturday, a government spokesman said on Friday.
The request was made on June 25 via a diplomatic note, the spokesman said in response to a question from Reuters. The confirmation followed comments made by Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong to reporters late on Thursday that suggested a request had, in fact, been made.
Mexico had previously said it expected a request but had indicated in January that Guzman would not be handed over because he would 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. He broke out of Mexico's top maximum security prison through a tunnel that surfaced right into his cell.
The failure to extradite him has been heavily criticized by the government's critics since the jail break.
Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel has smuggled billions of dollars worth of drugs into the United States and is blamed for thousands of deaths through addiction and gang violence.
A massive manhunt is underway to capture him.
(Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez; Editing by Dan Grebler)