In Guatemala Jailed former VP agrees to extradition to US

Guatemala's former vice president, in jail pending possible trial for alleged graft, said Thursday she had agreed to be extradited to the United States to face charges related to drug trafficking.

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Guatemala's former vice-president Roxana Baldetti is accused of taking bribes from a Mexican drug cartel play

Guatemala's former vice-president Roxana Baldetti is accused of taking bribes from a Mexican drug cartel

(AFP)
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Guatemala's former vice president, in jail pending possible trial for alleged graft, said Thursday she had agreed to be extradited to the United States to face charges related to drug trafficking.

Roxana Baldetti, in office between 2012 and 2015, insisted she was innocent of the US accusations and was being subjected to "persecution by shady forces."

"I accept the extradition process to resolve my legal situation in the United States because I am innocent and I expect justice will be done," she told a court considering the extradition request via a video link from prison.

Her lawyers had requested the remote link for security reasons. Baldetti is being held in a facility in the north of the capital.

Guatemala's government said last week the United States had issued the extradition request on charges of criminal association and conspiracy to traffic in drugs.

According to local media reporting on the US accusation registered in Washington DC, Baldetti allegedly plotted to carry out illicit activities with the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas.

Prosecutors said during Thursday's hearing that the US accused Baldetti of taking money and gifts from drug traffickers in return for allowing them a free hand in Guatemala.

Baldetti stepped down as vice president in May 2015 after an investigation named her and then-president Otto Perez as the heads of a ring that took bribes from businessmen to help them evade customs tariffs. Perez, too, is in jail awaiting a decision on whether he will face trial for corruption.

According to Guatemala's prosecution service, the accusations against Baldetti in Guatemala have priority over her extradition to the US.

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