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Drug lord Hector 'El Guero' Palma set for deportation to Mexico

TIJUANA, MEXICO - JUNE 27:  Traffic in the US enters Mexico at the San Ysidro border crossing, the world?s busiest, on June 27, 2008 in Tijuana, Mexico. With the cost of gasoline in California around $4.60 per gallon, many drivers are buying their fuel in Mexico for about $3.20. There is a price to pay for cheaper gas though. Mexican gas is formulated with more sulfur than California gas and that can damage the emission control equipment on US cars, causing them to fail emissions tests and leading to expensive repairs. In addition, unless a driver has other business in Mexico, part of their fuel savings will be burned up idling in a line that can easily last for hours to get back into the US.   (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

TIJUANA, MEXICO - JUNE 27: Traffic in the US enters Mexico at the San Ysidro border crossing, the world?s busiest, on June 27, 2008 in Tijuana, Mexico. With the cost of gasoline in California around $4.60 per gallon, many drivers are buying their fuel in Mexico for about $3.20. There is a price to pay for cheaper gas though. Mexican gas is formulated with more sulfur than California gas and that can damage the emission control equipment on US cars, causing them to fail emissions tests and leading to expensive repairs. In addition, unless a driver has other business in Mexico, part of their fuel savings will be burned up idling in a line that can easily last for hours to get back into the US. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)  (2008 Getty Images)

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said Friday that Mexican drug lord Hector "El Guero" Palma has been transferred to immigration custody pending his deportation to Mexico.

The agency said in a statement that Palma was transferred from a U.S. prison Friday, one day ahead of his previously scheduled release date. It said "Palma will remain in ICE detention while the agency makes arrangements to carry out his removal to Mexico."

Local media have reported that Palma will be handed over next week at the Tijuana border crossing. But ICE said it won't confirm the circumstances of the handover "for security and safety reasons," adding, "The agency will only confirm that an individual has been removed once the action has been successfully completed. "

It is unclear if there are still any charges pending against Palma in Mexico. Attorney General Arely Gomez has said that prosecutors are looking through files for any remaining criminal cases. She said that in some cases the statute of limitations has expired.

Palma was known as an extremely violent drug trafficker and co-founder of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

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He was arrested June 23, 1995, in western Mexico. He was held in Mexican prisons while undergoing trial.

He was extradited to the United States in 2007 and was sentenced to 16 years for transporting 50 kilograms of cocaine, but got time off for the years he spent in a Mexican prison awaiting extradition.

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