U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to meet with Mexican Attorney General Arturo Chavez to discuss the extradition of suspected criminals to the United States.
Mexico extradited 11 fugitives to the United States on Saturday, putting 2009's total Mexico-to-U.S. extraditions at the highest yearly level ever, the U.S. Department of Justice said Sunday. This year’s total is 100, breaking last year's record of 95. The U.S. says this points to signs of increased cooperation between the two countries.
According to the Justice Department, the fugitives had all been indicted or charged in the U.S. for alleged crimes including sex offences, drug trafficking, money laundering and murder. They face charges in Texas, Florida, California, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Holder said in a statement, "By ensuring that alleged criminals are held accountable, we send a strong message that fleeing across the border does not mean you will escape justice."
Mexican President Felipe Calderon has been increasing extraditions of those facing charges in the United States as a way to fight against drug cartels. Drug traffickers have been known to escape from Mexican prisons or to continue to operate inside them, but U.S. prisons provide a more severe punishment.
Holder and Chavez are scheduled to meet on Monday.