Zetas founder ‘El Hummer’ confirmed ready for U.S. extradition after decade-long process

Latin America World

 “MX” for Borderland Beat

Los Zetas founding member Jaime Gonzalez Duran (“El Hummer”) is ready to be extradited to the U.S., where he faces drug trafficking charges. This announcement was confirmed by a Mexican federal judge who revoked a motion issued by El Hummer’s defense that intended to halt his extradition.

Although El Hummer was arrested nearly 12 years ago, authorities have been unable to extradite him to the U.S. His extradition process began in 2015 and has been filled with motions, suspensions and delays.

Should El Hummer be extradited, he would be one of the highest-ranking Zetas members to ever face trial in the U.S. The highest-ranking Zetas member imprisoned in the U.S. today is Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar (“El Mamito”), who was also a founding member.

Background

El Hummer was a violent cartel leader and is the suspect in the murder of the famous band singer Valentine Elizalde. Known as one of the most bloodthirsty Zetas, he was born in the tiny humble town of Xolmón, in the municipality of Aquismón, San Luis Potosí.  At the time Xolmón had a population of less than 500, all indigenous people.

He joined the Mexican Army as a young adult and was part of the Special Forces Airborne Group (GAFE). He received specialized training by U.S. forces and the Israeli Defense Force.

After seven years of service, he defected and joined the Gulf Cartel under Osiel Cardenas Guillen, becoming one of the first members of its newly formed paramilitary wing, Los Zetas.

Like El Hummer, most of the first members of Los Zetas were ex-military. Los Zetas was responsible for providing security services to Cárdenas Guillén and carrying out executions on the cartel’s behalf. Their role in organized crime increased over the years after they became involved in drug trafficking and territory expansion.

El Hummer was the former plaza boss of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, one of the Gulf Cartel’s most lucrative turfs. In 2008, he was arrested and has been in prison ever since.

Case

The extradition of El Hummer has been a headache case for Mexican and U.S. officials. From 2008 to 2015, El Hummer was imprisoned in Mexico without a formal extradition request from the U.S.

In November 2015, a federal judge halted his extradition and allowed El Hummer to file an appeal. This action was a surprise for the Mexican Foreign Ministry and the U.S. government because they had already agreed to send him to the U.S., as reported by Borderland Beat.

In March 2019, his extradition was okayed by the Mexican government once again, but El Hummer was able to get a motion approved in May that temporarily halted his extradition, as reported by Borderland Beat. Another Mexican federal judge gave the “green light” to extradite him to the U.S. that November, but this motion was suspended again in 2020.

Sources: La Jornada and Borderland Beat archives

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