One of the sons of drug lord “El Chapo,” Ovidio Guzman, was extradited from Mexico to the United States on Friday, US authorities announced. He is charged with drug trafficking, money laundering and other violent crimes.
“Today, U.S. and Mexican law enforcement successfully transferred to the U.S. Department of Justice Ovidio Guzman Lopez, one of “El Chapo’s” sons, who was indicted on drug trafficking, money laundering and other violent crimes,” the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.
This extradition “testifies to the importance of cooperation between the American and Mexican governments to curb drug trafficking,” the department added, thanking Mexico. Ovidio Guzman, nicknamed “El Raton” (“The Mouse”), was captured by Mexican authorities on January 5 during a bloody operation a few days before a visit by Joe Biden. Ten soldiers and nineteen suspected criminals were killed during intense exchanges of gunfire between law enforcement and armed men in Culiacan, a city of 800,000 inhabitants in northwest Mexico.
U.S. authorities had offered a $5 million bounty for his arrest, accusing him and his brother Joaquin Guzman Lopez of overseeing laboratories in Sinaloa state producing methamphetamine. “Other reports indicate that Ovidio Guzman Lopez ordered the killing of informants, a drug trafficker and a popular Mexican singer who refused to sing at her wedding,” the customs website further states American.
His father, “El Chapo” Guzman, founder of the Sinaloa Cartel, is currently serving a life sentence in the United States. Considered the most powerful drug trafficker in the world until his arrest in 2016, he was extradited to the United States in 2017 where he was sentenced in July 2019 to life in prison after a trial under high security in New York. He is serving his sentence in a maximum security prison in Colorado.
Ovidio Guzman, 33, is considered the leader of the “Menores,” a faction of the Sinaloa Cartel. He is the best known of the “Chapitos”, a nickname given to the four sons of “Chapo”, which also includes Joaquin, Ivan Archivaldo and Jesus Alfredo. In a song to his glory released in 2021, “Soy el raton” (I am the mouse), he is described as a chef “with a lot of brains”, “hot-blooded” and a lover of luxury cars.
Until his extradition, he was incarcerated in the Altiplano prison in the central state of Mexico, for crimes involving harm to health and carrying firearms. He is also under investigation in Mexico for other offenses linked to organized crime. In October 2019, “El Raton” was briefly arrested, then released on the orders of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador after a violent uprising in Culiacan following his arrest. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had justified this criticized decision, arguing that a bloodbath had been avoided.
The American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is on a war footing against the Sinaloa cartel, which it accuses of being the main actor in fentanyl trafficking. This particularly powerful synthetic opiate, fifty times more potent than heroin, is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people per year in the United States.