May 22, 2014 / 5:48 PM / 3 years ago

Guatemala extradites accused drug trafficker to U.S

Juan Ortiz Lopez, (C), known as "Chamale", is escorted for his extradition to the U.S. at the Air Force base in Guatemala City May 22, 2014.Stringer

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Guatemala on Thursday extradited one of the country's top suspected drug traffickers to the United States, more than two years after a court had ordered the move.

Juan Ortiz Lopez, alias "Chamale," who was arrested in March 2011, is wanted in a Florida federal court on charges of trafficking tons of cocaine into the United States.

The 43-year-old faces a maximum life sentence if convicted.

Rudy Esquivel, a spokesman for Guatemala's prison system, said a police helicopter took Ortiz to a military air base before a plane bound for Tampa, Florida departed with him at around 9 a.m. local time.

A court had ordered his extradition in February 2012.

Reporting by Sofia Menchu, editing by G Crosse

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