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Alleged drug lord from Sinaloa cartel extradited to U.S.

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jesus Vicente given to Drug Enforcement Administration officials Thursday
  • He was arrested by Mexican authorities nearly a year ago
  • Zambada-Niebla's father allegedly leads a large faction of the Sinaloa cartel
  • He will be tried in Washington after he faces charges for the Chicago indictment
RELATED TOPICS
  • Sinaloa Cartel
  • Mexico
  • Chicago

Washington (CNN) -- A suspected top Mexican drug kingpin who allegedly smuggled hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cocaine and heroin into the United States has been extradited to stand trial in Chicago, Illinois, federal law enforcement sources said Thursday.

The officials say Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, whose father allegedly leads a large faction of the Sinaloa cartel, was handed over to Drug Enforcement Administration officials early Thursday by Mexican authorities and flown to Chicago, where he was indicted last year.

Zambada-Niebla, 34, is expected to be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Chicago on federal narcotics trafficking conspiracy charges detailed in an August 2009 indictment.

He was arrested by Mexican authorities nearly a year ago, and remained in Mexican custody until he was handed over Thursday.

Zambada-Niebla was indicted along with his father, Ismail Zambada-Garcia, and nearly three dozen other defendants last summer in what was described at the time as one of the most significant international narcotics conspiracy cases ever brought in the United States.

The allegations say that over a period of years, multiple tons of cocaine and heroin was flown from Colombia and Panama into Mexico and smuggled across the U.S. border, to be distributed throughout the nation.

Zambada-Niebla was earlier indicted in the District of Columbia for trafficking nearly $50 million in cocaine to Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. Officials say he will be tried in Washington after he faces charges for the Chicago indictment.

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