Mexico's national security commissioner Renato Sales told TV station Televisa that Joaquin Guzman, the notorious Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo, could come to the U.S. as early as next January or February to face federal charges against him, ABC News reports.
Mexican officials cleared Guzman for extradition in May under the condition that U.S. prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty. He will face charges—from seven federal prosecutors—of conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine and marijuana, money-laundering, arms possession and murder, per The Wrap.
But the BBC reported that lawyer Jose Refugio Rodriguez believed there were "too many appeals pending for the extradition to happen so quickly."
"[October through December] is not enough time" to address the appeals, Rodriguez said, and added that Guzman could only be extradited by January or February if someone were "to take him out [of jail] by force." Guzman is currently being held in a maximum-security prison in Ciudad Juarez, near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Sales assured viewers Friday that Guzman "is not running absolutely anything from prison," referring to the Sinaloa cartel, of which Guzman served as the head. He also added that Guzman is under "special surveillance" since the drug lord managed to escape from prison twice.
"He is not in a five-star hotel," Sales said.
El Chapo's sons have reportedly taken over their father's work since he was recaptured in January, and were allegedly behind an attack on a Mexican military convoy in early October.
The attack killed five people and left 10 others injured.