U.S. seeks to extradite Canadian charged in El Chapo case
Mykhaylo Koretskyy is in custody on Caribbean island of Curacao
A Canadian known as Russian Mike who has been charged in the drug trafficking case involving notorious drug lord Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman sought Thursday to block his extradition to the U.S. from the Caribbean.
Mykhaylo Koretskyy, who was born in Ukraine, appeared before a three-judge panel at an extradition hearing on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao, where he was arrested earlier this year after arriving on a flight from Canada. It was a continuation of a hearing that began Tuesday.
Koretskyy, 43, has been indicted in federal court in New York on charges that include conspiracy to import cocaine. U.S. court records list him among the defendants in the case that includes Guzman and say he also goes by the nickname Cobra.
The indictment says he took part in an alleged drug smuggling conspiracy from 2008 to 2014, but does not go into detail about any connection to Guzman, who was turned over to U.S. authorities in 2017.
Guzman has pleaded not guilty to charges that his Sinaloa cartel laundered billions of dollars and oversaw a campaign of murders and kidnappings.
'Absolutely decrepit prison'
Koretskyy was arrested upon arriving in Curacao with his family in January and has been in custody ever since.
"He's rotting in an absolutely decrepit prison," Koretskyy's New York lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, said Thursday, adding that he has been to Curacao to visit his client.
"Considering that [authorities] knew exactly where he was and he made no effort to flee at any point, it's simply unfair," he said.
The island, which is part of the Netherlands, has an extradition treaty with the U.S. but a decision on whether to send Koretskyy to New York is not expected for several weeks.