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The Region | IN BRIEF / SAN DIEGO

Mexico Extradites Accused Trafficker

May 07, 2001

An alleged drug trafficker was being held in a federal prison this weekend after Mexico extradited him under a landmark court ruling allowing it to send citizens north for prosecution.

A U.S. government plane flew Arturo Paez Martinez into San Diego from Tijuana late Friday night, said Gonzalo Curiel, chief of the narcotics enforcement section for the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego.

Paez was arrested in Tijuana more than three years ago and held on a U.S. extradition request. He is one of 14 Mexican suspects who have used court appeals to avoid extradition.

But in a January decision applying only to the United States, Mexico's Supreme Court said Mexico has the "discretionary power" to send citizens north to face justice, provided they are sentenced under Mexican guidelines if convicted.

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