Actress optimistic about extradition of Mexican drug lord El Chapo
An actress holding the rights to make a movie about Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has welcomed the latest step towards his intended extradition to the US.
Kate del Castillo said: "Today's news that El Chapo may be extradited to the United States is good news in that it will allow my team greater access to him in order to tell a full and accurate picture of his unbelievable life and work."
Mexican judicial authorities said a judge had ruled that legal requirements had been met for sending Guzman to the US to face drug charges. The country's Foreign Relations Department must still approve extradition, and Guzman's lawyers can appeal.
Del Castillo arranged actor Sean Penn's interview with Guzman in October while the leader of the Sinaloa cartel was on the run after his second escape from prison. She has said she was able to do so because of a relationship that developed around Guzman's interest in having a film made about his life.
Mexican authorities have said they are investigating whether del Castillo received any money from Guzman. She denies that happened.
Her optimism that Guzman would be more accessible in the US after extradition could be misplaced.
"I think that her statement is wishful thinking," said David S Weinstein, a former prosecutor who oversaw the narcotics division at the prosecutor's office in Miami.
"She will have little to no access to him prior to his trial or the resolution of all the cases for which he is extradited to the US to stand trial."
After a conviction, del Castillo would have to request an interview through the Bureau of Prisons. With such high-profile inmates, such requests are not routinely granted.
Guzman's lawyers have confirmed that del Castillo has the rights to make a movie about his life.
On Monday, notary public Gabriel Ezeta said he was the one who issued the document in which Guzman gave permission to del Castillo and two others to use his name. The document was issued in January last year and signed by Guzman inside the Altiplano maximum-security prison from which he escaped through a tunnel the following July.