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Justice: Drug lord El Chapo's son extradited to U.S. to face criminal charges

Ovidio Guzman Lopez, now in U.S. custody in Chicago and has been tied to violence and the drug trade, according to U.S. officials

Mexican forces arrest El Chapo's son, Ovidio Guzmán López, who was extraditied to the U.S. for criminal prosecution | EFE

September 19, 2023 9:02am

Updated: October 15, 2023 1:40pm

The U.S. justice system extradited the son of jailed drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera  on Friday, nine months after his arrest by Mexican law enforcement agents, law enforcement officials said.

Ovidio Guzman Lopez, now in U.S. custody in Chicago and has been tied to violence and the drug trade, according to U.S. officials.

A DEA and the U.S. Marshals Service joint operation effectuated the extradition.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland called Guzman a leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, one of Mexico’s most powerful drug trafficking organizations, and said the extradition was the most recent step to “attack” the syndicate.

The Sinaloa Cartel was previously led by Guzman's father.

“The fight against the cartels has involved incredible courage by United States law enforcement and Mexican law enforcement and military servicemembers, many of whom have given their lives in the pursuit of justice,” Garland said.

Guzman was detained on Jan. 5 in the Sinaloa city of Culiacán.

There was a spout of violence in the city after his arrest as alleged cartel members lashed out by carjacking residents and setting cars on fire. 

After an earlier arrest in 2019, Mexican police released Guzman in the wake of a gunfight known as the “Battle of Culiacán.”

A high ranking member of the notorious “Chapitos,” the drug lord’s four sons, Joaquin was charged in April on federal charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and violent crimes that was tied to his father’s 2017 arrest and extradition, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for California’s Southern District.

Federal prosecutors described all four brothers as leaders of the cartel, and they were subsequently charged April. At the time, the other three were not in custody and their whereabouts were unknown.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office accused the four of mobilizing and manufacturing high quantities of illegal narcotics, namely cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.

When their charges were filed, Garland declared the organization the “largest, most violent and most prolific fentanyl trafficking operation in the world.”

Authorities have also alleged that the group bribed officials and used murder, kidnapping and committed other violent crimes against law enforcement agents as well as competing drug syndicates, prosecutors said.

Their father, who previously ran the Sinaloa Cartel, is serving a life sentence at a maximum security prison in Colorado, and has been since 2019.

The infamous drug lord's wife was released from prison Wednesday after serving less than two years for helping run his cartel.