MEXICO CITY (AP) — The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said Friday that Mexican drug lord Hector "El Guero" Palma has been transferred to immigration custody pending his deportation to Mexico.
The agency said in a statement that Palma was transferred from a U.S. prison Friday, one day ahead of his previously scheduled release date. It said "Palma will remain in ICE detention while the agency makes arrangements to carry out his removal to Mexico."
Local media have reported that Palma will be handed over next week at the Tijuana border crossing. But ICE said it won't confirm the circumstances of the handover "for security and safety reasons," adding, "The agency will only confirm that an individual has been removed once the action has been successfully completed. "
It is unclear if there are still any charges pending against Palma in Mexico. Attorney General Arely Gomez has said that prosecutors are looking through files for any remaining criminal cases. She said that in some cases the statute of limitations has expired.
Palma was known as an extremely violent drug trafficker and co-founder of the Sinaloa drug cartel.
He was arrested June 23, 1995, in western Mexico. He was held in Mexican prisons while undergoing trial.
He was extradited to the United States in 2007 and was sentenced to 16 years for transporting 50 kilograms of cocaine, but got time off for the years he spent in a Mexican prison awaiting extradition.