A Mexican federal judge who presided over appeals from high-profile drug kingpins in recent years was fatally shot in the head outside his home on Monday, authorities said.
Judge Vicente Bermudez handled several legal challenges lodged by lawyers for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the jailed leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, as well Miguel Trevino, ex-leader of the Zetas cartel.
President Enrique Pena Nieto said in a televised speech on Monday that he ordered his attorney general to investigate the murder, but he did not provide additional information about the case.
Since March, Bermudez served as a judge overseeing legal challenges and federal trials in the state of Mexico just outside the capital, where Mexico’s maximum security Altiplano prison is located.
Trevino is a prisoner at the Altiplano facility, and Guzman is in a Ciudad Juarez prison, across the border from El Paso, Texas, awaiting extradition to the United States.
Guzman’s lawyers have filed numerous legal challenges aimed at preventing his extradition, but government officials have said it is likely he will be sent to the United States by early 2017.