Mexico extradites drug cartel boss to US

An undated photograph provided on April 12, 2012 by the Mexican Attorney General's office of Cesar Gastelum Serrano (AFP Photo/)

Mexico City (AFP) - Mexico has extradited top drug trafficker Cesar Gastelum Serrano to the United States, where he is accused of running a network that smuggles tons of cocaine into the US via Central America, authorities said Sunday.

Gastelum, who is linked to Mexico's powerful Sinaloa cartel, was arrested in April in the Mexican resort of Cancun.

He was handed over to American authorities at an airport outside Mexico City along with another man wanted on US federal drug charges, Alejandro Rubio Perez, prosecutors said in a statement.

Gastelum, 47, was placed on the US list of drug kingpins last year.

The US Treasury Department said he led an organization capable of moving tons of cocaine each week into the United States via Honduras and Guatemala.

Mexican authorities said Gastelum had maintained a low profile in Cancun, using the beach resort as a base.

Since Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in 2012, Mexico has resisted extraditing offenders to the United States.

But that policy has changed since Sinaloa cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the most-wanted drug trafficker in both the US and Mexico at the time of his arrest last year, made a spectacular escape from prison in July.