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Court Grants Motion to Prevent Extradition of Abigael González Valencia (“El Cuini”)

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“MX” for Borderland Beat

A Mexican federal court granted a legal motion to Abigael González Valencia (“El Cuini”), a former high-ranking member of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), which prevents his extradition to the United States. He is wanted by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for his suspected involvement in international drug trafficking and money laundering.

González Valencia is one of the many siblings who formed part of Los Cuinis, a clan within the CJNG. He was arrested in February 2015 but has been successful at preventing his extradition to the U.S. ever since.

Extradition denied

According to González Valencia’s motion, his legal team appealed against the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE). They stated that González Valencia could not be extradited to the U.S. because that would mean he would face double jeopardy (being tried one than once for the same crime).

Double jeopardy, his team alleged, was against Article 6 of the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Mexico. González Valencia’s team showed federal judge Rosa María Cervantes Mejía that their client was facing drug trafficking charges in the states of Jalisco and Chiapas, just like the charges he faced in the U.S.

The judge who presided over González Valencia’s case explained that when a motion of non bis idem (double jeopardy) is filed, Mexican courts analyze if the classification of the crime falls within the same category. If these two crimes match, courts then confirm if they refer to the same person. This procedure was established by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

The judge determined that the SRE did not consider these factors when working to extradite González Valencia and that his human rights were violated. The judge thus granted González Valencia constitutional protection to avoid his transfer to the U.S.

This court decision rendered all previous extradition approvals invalid, including the latest one issued in 25 March 2019. This motion now requires the prosecution to issue a new request that meets these requirements. González Valencia is currently imprisoned at the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1 (“Altiplano”), a maximum-security prison in the State of Mexico.


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