News Latin America The authorities stop the release of ‘El Guero’ Palma in the midst...

The authorities stop the release of ‘El Guero’ Palma in the midst of an intense legal battle

‘El Guero’ Palma after being released and detained again on the outskirts of the Almoloya prison, in the State of Mexico, on May 4, 2021.Europa Press/Contact/El Universal

Hector the guero Palma will remain in prison. This has been confirmed by judicial sources to EL PAIS this Wednesday. Until a few hours ago, everything pointed to the fact that the 63-year-old drug lord, founder of the Sinaloa Cartel and one of the bloodiest drug traffickers in the history of Mexico, was one step away from regaining his freedom after spending 28 years in jail, after that a judge acquitted him this week of the crime of organized crime. The Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) has completed a new arrest warrant for qualified homicide to stop his release at the last minute, in the midst of an intense legal battle that has lasted for more than two years.

The new arrest warrant was presented in the maximum security prison of El Altiplano, in Almoloya de Juarez (State of Mexico) where Palma has been held since 2016. A judge from the State of Jalisco ordered the release of the capo on Tuesday, considering that The FGR did not have enough elements to charge him with the crime of organized crime. The kingpin has been in judicial custody in Mexico and the United States since mid-1995, when he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking. Judicial sources say that the possibility of El Guero being transferred to another prison in the state of Hidalgo is being analyzed, where the last arrest warrant was issued and where the authorities accuse him of continuing to be involved in criminal activities. Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, his former partner, fled from El Altiplano in July 2015, but was captured in January 2016.

The judicial process against the capo has entered into a loop in the last two years. El Guero has cherished his freedom several times in court only to be recaptured by the ministerial authorities. Palma’s lawyers have promoted a series of legal resources to nullify the charges against him in Mexico. In May 2021, a court acquitted him of the charges he faced for organized crime and decided that he should face a new trial. On that occasion, the kingpin was released for a few minutes, only to be recaptured in the vicinity of El Altiplano in an operation involving more than 200 elements to establish a security perimeter and avoid a confrontation with criminal forces. The president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, criticized the Judiciary for the circumstances in which the ruling was given. “You cannot issue an order to release an inmate accused of organized crime, on a Saturday morning,” the president questioned then.

El Guero, one of the best-known drug traffickers in recent Mexican history, was arrested by the Army in June 1995. The kingpin was aboard a small plane that crashed on his way to a party in the state of Nayarit, in western Mexico. After the incident, he was the only crew member who survived. In 2007 he was extradited to the United States to serve a 16-year prison sentence for drug trafficking. The capo, who began as a hitman and rose through the ranks of the Sinaloa Cartel to reach the top of the organization, spent only nine years in US custody and was released early for good conduct. In 2016, Palma was deported to Mexico to be tried for the murder of two people in the mid-1990s and organized crime, processes that have been dismissed by the Judiciary.

El Guero’s lawyers were confident that this latest ruling would allow their client to be released from prison permanently, assuring that there were no current investigations against him to justify his being behind bars and that his release would take place in a matter of hours. . The new accusation against Palma, which has yet to be formally announced by the Prosecutor’s Office, stopped this possibility dead and anticipates a new chapter in the lawsuit surrounding the former partner of El Chapo Guzman.

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