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Soldiers escort Hector Beltran Leyva in Mexico City, in this handout picture taken October 1, 2014 REUTERS/Attorney General's Office/Handout via Reuters

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A Mexican court has blocked efforts by the foreign ministry to extradite jailed drug lord Hector Beltran Leyva to the United States, judicial authorities said on Wednesday, just a few months after top kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was sent north.

The Mexico City court granted Beltran Leyva, one of Mexico's most-wanted drug lords until his capture in 2014, an injunction in his appeal against extradition due to technicalities involving a failure to follow due process.

In a statement, Mexico's federal judicial authorities said the case would return to the original judge, who would begin the process afresh. Beltran Leyva remains locked up in the same high-security prison just outside Mexico City that Guzman escaped from through a mile-long tunnel in 2015.

The Beltran Leyva gang, which was linked to Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel until 2008, was one of Mexico's biggest drug smuggling organizations. But many of its key members are now either dead, behind bars in Mexico or serving time in the United States.

In January, just before U.S. President Donald Trump took office, Guzman was extradited to New York, in a deft move that served to please outgoing leader Barack Obama and his successor.

(Reporting by Anahi Rama; Editing by Richard Chang)

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