WASHINGTON Ė A judge in the District of Columbia has approved businessman Zhenli Ye Gonís extradition to Mexico, where he faces drug charges.
U.S. authorities accused the businessman of manufacturing and smuggling methamphetamine into the country, but one witness retracted his statement and another decided not to testify, forcing prosecutors to drop the charges against him.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola, who had postponed the extradition several times at the request of Ye Gonís attorneys, ordered the accused on Wednesday to remain in custody until he was handed over to Mexican authorities.
The Chinese-born businessman tried to avoid extradition by arguing that he could not get a fair trial in Mexico.
Police found $205 million in cash at a Mexico City house owned by Ye Gon in March 2007.
Mexican police, moreover, linked the businessman to 19.5 tons of pseudoephedrine seized in a port city in the southern state of Michoacan in late 2006.
Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are used to manufacture methamphetamine, an illegal stimulant.
Pseudoephedrine was previously used to make cold medications in Mexico, but the compoundís possession was banned in 2007 because of the growing trade in synthetic drugs.
The 48-year-old businessman was arrested in July 2007 by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents at a restaurant in suburban Washington, D.C.
Mexico wants to put Ye Gon on trial on drug trafficking, arms and money laundering charges.
The businessman has been in the custody of U.S. authorities since his arrest.
Ye Gon, who was born in Shanghai, is a Mexican citizen. EFE