20:08 GMT07 July 2020
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    Hector "El Guero" Palma, an infamous Mexican drug trafficker, was released after serving nine years in a US jail and returned to the Mexican border, where he was promptly taken into custody by Mexican authorities.

    Palma, 55, was a close associate of one of the world's most powerful criminals, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera, with whom he established the Sinaloa Cartel to supply the United States with Colombian cocaine.

    In 1995, Palma was captured by local law enforcement after his plane crashed en route to northern Mexico. He was later extradited to the US, where he admitted to having transported over 50 kilograms of cocaine to the country. The US judge sentenced him to 16 years in a Californian prison, but the prisoner was freed earlier for good behavior.

    On Wednesday, however, he was handed over to Mexican authorities by the American immigration service at the border gate in Matamoros, Mexico, the Associated Press reported, citing the Mexican general prosecutor's office.

    As Palma stepped on the native soil, he was immediately arrested for "his probable responsibility" for two murders, the Mexican officials said.  The drug lord was allegedly behind the assassination of a deputy police chief and his companion in the western Mexican state of Nayarit.

    "We are in the process of carrying out an exhaustive review, checking all the prosecutors' offices," Attorney General Arely Gomez of Mexico said.

    He was placed in the same maximum-security jail near Mexico City that his former associate, drug lord El Chapo, escaped from in 2015. The notorious criminal escaped in grand style, through a tunnel on a motorcycle, only to be re-arrested in January of this year.

    Last week, a soldier guarding El Chapo was found dead from a blow to the back of the neck, according to the BBC, which added that 300 soldiers had been sent to the prison where El Chapo is being held to prevent him from escaping again.

    Meanwhile, by handing Palma over to Mexico, Washington hopes to accelerate the extradition of El Chapo to the US.


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