Experts say El Chapo won't face justice unless extradited to U.S.

EL PASO, Texas - Experts say the odds of Sinaloa drug cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman facing true justice in Mexico are slim.

Cartel violence has claimed about 10,000 lives in Juarez, Mexico, in the past six years. Now some wonder whether their government will be the one to prosecute him, or if he'll stand trial in the U.S. -- and how Juarez victims' families would respond if he's extradited.

The only family member ABC-7 could get ahold of Monday was a man named Phil Jordan, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration for decades. Many other phones are disconnected. ABC-7 also couldn't reach former Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz.

Jordan's brother, Bruno, was murdered in El Paso in 1995. Phil believes it was cartel-related, as it took place just days after Phil began his brief stint as head of the El Paso Intelligence Center.

"If he's not extradited, and if he remains in prison in Mexico, all that means is that his office of running his organization will change -- his address will change. But if he's not extradited, he will be allowed to escape again," Jordan said. "To be prosecuted in Mexico, with the amount of money that Chapo has, that will not be any kind of legitimate prosecution. If he's prosecuted in the United States, he will not have the luxury of running his business from a prison cell."

El Chapo used a laundry cart to escape from a maximum-security Mexican prison back in 2001. So Jordan said he sees the kingpin's Saturday arrest in a Mazatlan hotel as a temporary disruption in his $3 billion cartel operation. His right-hand man Israel "El Mayo" Zambada is still at large.

Thomas Taylor wrote his psychology Ph.D. dissertation at UTEP about cartel-induced traumatic stress among young people living on the border.

"I can imagine that would be kind of the feeling, that there would be betrayal on the sense maybe of the Mexican people who have been affected by the violence in some fashion, for them to say, 'OK, well, we can't really deal with it, so we're giving it to the U.S.,'" Taylor said. "I can imagine them wanting to say, 'You know, this is our county, and we need to take care of this individual, and we need to fight this off, and we need to make an example out of him, so that other people don't do this.' And the pride of, 'We can take care of this on our own. We don't need the U.S. getting involved in this.'"

El Chapo has been indicted in at least seven U.S. federal district courts, including El Paso.

ABC-7 also spoke Monday with a man with knowledge of the Mexican prison system. He said there's an aura of sympathy in Mexico toward drug lords, because they often provide funding for churches and schools. This man believes the key to fighting drug cartels is not beheading them, but instead using treatment programs to eliminate demand.

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