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Mexico extradites record number to U.S.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has emphasized extraditions as part of his fight against drug cartels.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon has emphasized extraditions as part of his fight against drug cartels.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Total of Mexico-to-U.S. extraditions in 2009 rises to 100
  • Previous one-year record was 95 last year
  • Mexico's president has emphasized extraditions to U.S. as part of battle with cartels
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(CNN) -- Mexico extradited 11 fugitives to the United States on Saturday, putting 2009's total Mexico-to-U.S. extraditions at the highest yearly level ever, the U.S. Department of Justice said Sunday.

Saturday's extraditions put 2009's total at 100, breaking last year's record of 95, the Department of Justice said in a news release.

One tactic employed by the government of Mexican President Felipe Calderon in his offensive against drug cartels has been to increase extraditions of those facing charges in the United States.

Drug traffickers have been known to escape from Mexican prisons or to continue to operate inside them. Proponents of increased extraditions say U.S. prisons provide a more severe punishment.

Of the 11 people extradited Saturday, four were wanted on drug-related charges, the Department of Justice said.

The others faced charges of murder, sexual assault, robbery and other crimes. The 11 face charges in Texas, Florida, California, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

"Each year since 2001, Mexico has increased the number of defendants it extradites to the United States," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. "By ensuring that alleged criminals are held accountable, we send a strong message that fleeing across the border does not mean you will escape justice."

Holder is scheduled to meet Monday with Mexico's new attorney general, Arturo Chavez.