Drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was transferred Saturday morning from central Mexico to another jail located just across from the U.S. border town of El Paso, Texas.
But the notorious cartel kingpin's move to Ciudad Juarez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua was not related to extradition, Mexico's National Security Commission said — although shortly after Guzman's capture earlier this year, they began the legal process to deport him to the U.S. to face charges.
A U.S. government official also told NBC News that Guzman's relocation is not seen as a signal he’s about to be handed over to America.
Eduardo Sanchez, the spokesman for the president's office, said Guzman's transfer was due to upgrades being performed at his current jail in Altiplano near Mexico City, Reuters reported.
"Such transfer was carried out with full respect for the human rights of the inmate and it strictly obeys the federal penitentiary policy that is part of our security protocols," Mexican officials said.
At least five jurisdictions, including New York, Chicago and San Diego, are reportedly vying to prosecute Guzman, the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, on charges ranging from drug trafficking to money laundering to murder conspiracies.
Guzman was the subject of a national manhunt and international intrigue after tunneling out of a maximum security facility last July. It was the second time he broke out of prison.
The search took another strange turn after it was revealed that he gave an interview to actor Sean Penn, who detailed their encounter with Rolling Stone magazine, while he was out. Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo also helped to arrange the meeting, according to reports.
Guzman was finally recaptured in January in a deadly raid by Mexico's navy in the town of Los Mochis. He was transported back to Altiplano — the same prison from which he had escaped under his cell's shower stall.
Officials said he was caught in part because of his hopes of making a biographical movie and being in contact with actors and film producers.