Mexican President Vicente Fox Pledges to Extradite All Wanted Drug Lords to U.S.

President Vicente Fox said Tuesday that Mexico is willing to extradite any drug lord in its custody wanted by the United States.

Fox said Mexico currently has 16 "big leaders" of drug gangs in jail along with 75,000 lower level members of various cartels. The U.S. is believed to have requested the extradition of at least three suspected drug kingpins: Benjamin Arellano Felix of the Arellano Felix smuggling syndicate; Osiel Cardenas, reputed head of the Gulf Cartel; and Hector "El Guero" Palma, a reputed leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

"We will extradite all of those who have pending matters with U.S. justice," Fox told a news conference in New York where he was attending the United Nations General Assembly.

It was the first time Mexico's president had made such a sweeping commitment to send wanted drug lords to face charges in the U.S.

Mexico extradited its first major drug lord — accused kingpin Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix — to the United States over the weekend. Before that, Mexico had often balked at sending drug kingpins, arguing they should face justice in Mexico and refusing to send anyone to the U.S. who would face the death penalty.