The Cable

Mexican Ambassador: 'El Chapo' Will Face Charges in Mexico First

U.S. attorneys anxious to prosecute the world's most notorious alleged drug lord are going to have to wait. In a statement to The Cable, Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Eduardo Medina-Mora opened the door to a future extradition of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, but said he'll face charges in Mexico first.

"Mr. Guzman could eventually face the charges against him in the U.S., after facing the charges against him in Mexico," said Medina-Mora. "Mr. Guzman still has pending time to serve in Mexico from his original sentence and he also faces new charges in Mexico that will be processed in Mexican federal courts."

The remarks suggest a protracted stay for Guzman in Mexico, an outcome that may not sit well with the Obama administration, Congress, and federal prosecutors around the country.

As head of the Sinaloa cartel, Guzman has been charged in at least seven federal district courts in the U.S., including Chicago, which named him Public Enemy No. 1 last year, a title first given to notorious gangster Al Capone. There's a good reason that federal prosecutors want Guzman outside the country: He has been tried and imprisoned in Mexico before.

In 2001, he escaped from his cell with the help of guards and remained at large until his capture three days ago. Extraditing Guzman to the United States could've helped ensure that he's less able to coerce prison guards to assist in his release, said Mike Vigil, the former chief of international operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration. "In the back of their mind, [Mexican government officials] have to be thinking, 'Here's an individual with millions of dollars, the ability to bribe and to threaten,'" he said. Guzman is known to have threatened prison guards and their families before.

A senior law enforcement official told The Cable that Obama administration officials pressed the extradition case at the highest levels in the Mexican government, apparently to no avail.

On Sunday, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul, urged the Mexican government to consider extraditing him immediately. "There is corruption in [Mexico]," McCaul told ABC News. "I would ask that the Mexicans consider extraditing him to the United States, where he would be put into a super-max prison under tight security, where he cannot escape."

But U.S. officials will have to be patient, said Medina-Mora. "Bilateral security and justice cooperation between Mexico and the United States unfolds in a mature and serene way, and cases like Mr. Guzman's are processed with openness," he said. "I think that the charges he faces in Mexico will be processed first and an eventual extradition request would be considered at the appropriate time."

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The Cable

White House To Russia: Stay Out Of Ukraine

With Ukraine's parliament dismantling the last vestiges of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych's government, the Obama administration warned Russia against sending troops into the country and told Moscow that it should allow Ukrainians to freely determine their own future.

Appearing on Meet the Press Sunday, National Security Advisor Susan Rice was adamant about limiting Russia's role in Ukraine going forward. If Moscow were to try to intervene militarily to restore Yanukovych's pro-Russian government, "that would be a grave mistake," Rice told host David Gregory.

"It's not in the interests of Ukraine or of Russia or of Europe or of the United States to see the country split," she said. "It's in nobody's interest to see violence return and the situation escalate."

Rice's statement was markedly more forceful than British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who commented to the BBC that "any external duress on Ukraine any more than we've seen in recent weeks ... it really would not be in the interests of Russia to do any such thing."

Hague said that it would be "very important for us to continue to try to persuade Russia that this need not be a zero sum game."

The comments came as the Ukrainian parliament, which appears to be in full control of the country, ousted several of Yanukovych's last remaining ministers and appointed their speaker Oleksandr Turchynov as the country's new president.

Yanukoych, meanwhile, has fled to a Russian-speaking part of the country, denounced the protesters who pushed him out of power as anarchists and terrorists, and insisted that he remains the rightful ruler of the country.

Rice rejected Yanukovych's claim to power.

He has gone," she said. "Yanukovych has lost enormous legitimacy, despite having been originally democratically elected, by turning on his people."

When Gregory pressed her on whether Yanukovych would accept stepping down, Rice seemed to flatly indicate that the White House believed his era was finished.

"He left Kiev.... This was not fleeing in a very disorderly fashion," she said. "But the fact is, he's not leading at the present."

Despite her tough talk about a possible Russian military intervention into Ukraine, Rice said Russia and America fundamentally shared the same hopes for Ukraine's future.

President Obama, Rice said, has conveyed to Russian President Vladimir Putin that "we have a shared interest in a Ukraine that remains unified, whole, independent and is able to exercise the will of its people freely. At that point, Putin was in agreement."

She did not discuss the issues of disagreement, but insisted that both Obama and Putin "wanted to see the implementation of the agreement that had been signed on Friday.... We are going to have a unity government. We are going to have near-term elections. We are going to have constitutional reform. And that reflects the will of the Ukrainian people and the interests of the United States and Europe." She didn't say how the deal reflected Russian interests

Rice also expressed concern about seeing the crisis through a Cold War lens, saying that if Putin saw it that way it would be a "pretty dated perspective."

"It's not necessary, nor is it in our interests to return to a Cold War construct that is long out of date and that doesn't reflect the realities of the 21st century," she said.

Meet the Press/NBC