[JURIST] Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza [official profile] said Sunday that his country's extradition [JURIST report] of 15 alleged drug kingpins and major drug traffickers [US DOJ list] to the US was a "unilateral and sovereign" decision by the Mexican government and not the result of any pressure from the US. Icaza said that drug lords Osiel Cardenas, Palma Salazar [DEA backgrounders], and brothers Gilberto and Ismael Higuera Guerrero were extradited to the US to prevent them from having contact with members of their drug cartels while in prison, to stop turf fights between their different drug cartels, and to lessen their chances of escape.
In 2006, Mexico [JURIST news archive] extradited 63 alleged criminals to the US following a November 2005 ruling by the Supreme Court of Mexico [official website] that prisoners serving life sentences can be extradited abroad [JURIST report]. The country plans to send more individuals [JURIST report] who have gone through the appeals process in Mexico unless they would be eligible for the death penalty in the US, which is illegal in Mexico. AP has more.