U.S. seeks extradition of ex-Guatemala officials on drug charges

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By Sofia and Menchu | GUATEMALA CITY

GUATEMALA CITY The United States will request
the extradition of former Guatemalan Vice President Roxana
Baldetti and a former cabinet minister on drug trafficking
charges, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala said on Friday.

Baldetti has been imprisoned in Guatemala since 2015 on
charges of leading a network that defrauded the government of
the Central American country along with former president Otto
Pérez Molina, who has also been arrested and is awaiting trial.

In a statement, the U.S. Embassy said the former vice
president and another former official were charged in the U.S.
District Court for the District of Columbia for conspiring to
distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine.

The U.S. court also indicted former Interior Minister
Mauricio Lopez, a close associate of Baldetti on trafficking
charges.

The embassy said it was awaiting formal extradition requests
from the U.S. Department of Justice for both individuals.

A lawyer for Lopez could not be reached for comment. But a
lawyer for Baldetti said she never committed the actions she
stands accused of.

Corruption has been a key objection among some politicians
in Washington to approve new aid for Central America, one of the
world’s poorest and most violent regions and a key source of
illegal migrants to the United States.



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