AFTER a six-year diplomatic battle between Spain and the United States, the US government has agreed to allow convicted drug trafficker David Mendoza Herrarte to return to Spain.
Harrarte is currently being held in a New Jersey prison in the USA, but will now be allowed to return to Spain, where he will be able to serve out the remainder of his 14-year sentence close to his family in the Basque Country.
This is one of several extradition and legal issues that have been a source of controversy between Spain and the US in recent years. This particular case was considered important enough for the Spanish Supreme Court to ask Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to personally increase pressure on the US government and allow Harrarte to return to Spain.
David Mendoza Herrarte was originally born in Los Angeles to Spanish parents, however he was given Spanish citizenship before he was arrested in 2007.
Herrarte maintained that he agreed to submit a guilty plea to prosecutors if they allowed him to serve his sentence in Spain and not the US, and that US prosecutors later went back on this deal, saying they had never made such a promise.