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Suspected money launderer for ‘El Chapo’ detained in Mexico

Juan Manuel Alvarez has ties to an international money-laundering network that spans Mexico and US.

FILE: Drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is escorted into a helicopter at Mexico City’s airport on 8 January, 2016 following his recapture during an intense military operation in Los Mochis, in Sinaloa State. Picture: AFP.

MEXICO CITY - A man suspected of laundering money for jailed drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was detained in southwestern Mexico, and faces extradition to the United States, Mexican authorities said on Sunday.

Juan Manuel Alvarez, who was arrested in Oaxaca state, has ties to an international money-laundering network that spans Mexico, Colombia, Panama and the United States, Mexican police said via their official Twitter account.

A separate statement from Mexico's National Security Commision, which coordinates security forces, said Alvarez is sought over money laundering allegations in the United States.

Describing him as the "principal financial operator" for an undisclosed drug trafficking group, the statement said he headed another criminal organization that operates mainly in the western Mexican state of Jalisco.

That state is home to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (JNG), whose gunmen shot down an army helicopter in the state last May, claiming the lives of six military personnel. The JNG have historic ties to Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel.

Guzman, who escaped twice from Mexican maximum-security prisons, was recaptured in Mexico in January and is seeking to speed up his extradition to the United States in the hope he will be treated better in prison there.

As head of the Sinaloa cartel, Guzman is accused of leading a bloody war against rival gangs and smuggling vast quantities of illegal drugs into the United States.

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