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There were several developments Wednesday in the El Chapo case. The U.S. Homeland Security Secretary told Mexico to hand over El Chapo for prosecution, and one of the drug lord's top alleged lieutenants in Chicago is pleading guilty but will not cooperate with authorities or testify in court.
Alfredo Vasquez Hernandez intends to plead guilty on March 7, according to his attorney. Hernandez allegedly coordinated ton shipments of cocaine into Mexico through Central and South America and multiple kilos deliveries smuggled to Chicago and onward.
This is a picture that federal law enforcement in Chicago and in Mexico never thought they would see: El Chapo Guzman getting a DNA swab, just to make certain it is him.
Since the drug lord's arrest last weekend in a Mazatlan beach hotel, U.S. drug agents and their counterparts south of the border have done facial recognition matches against older pictures of El Chapo because his appearance has been altered by plastic surgery. They also had Guzman provide handwriting samples and compared to his writing from two decades ago. Personal handwriting is difficult to alter.
On Wednesday, from all of the evidence, investigators in both countries are certain it is him. Now, the jockeying begins for who will put the world's richest drug dealer on trial.
"Extradition is a matter for the Department of Justice. I have read what you have read with great interest. One of the things that strikes me about where we are: It may be easier to work out the appropriate arrangement with the government of Mexico than it will be to work out the appropriate arrangement with the six U.S. attorneys who would like to prosecute this individual," said Jeh Johnson, U.S. Secretary Of Homeland Security
In Washington Wednesday the first detailed explanation of El Chapo legal strategy came from the head of U.S. Homeland Security. There is no indication yet from Mexican authorities that they are interested in extraditing Guzman to the U.S.
The I-Team has been told by investigators that El Chapo's Sinaloa cartel is operating as usual. Even though his son's social media accounts were used to track the drug lord, authorities say on this Twitter page believed owned by one son, Alfredo, he wrote: "This is not the end. My father has not perished. The Guzman era is just beginning."
A page believed to be run by another El Chapo son, Ivan, states he is "awaiting orders, a big hug to my father."
Without even being in Chicago, El Chapo took a legal blow Wednesday. Alfredo Vasquez Hernandez in a surprise court announcement said he intends to plead guilty on March 7, according to his attorney Paul Brayman. Guzman was charged alongside Vasquez Hernandez in a Chicago indictment in 2009, and is allegedly responsible for smuggling the majority of illegal drugs sold on Chicago's streets.