Ovidio Guzmán: still from video footage of his arrest
Photo: - / dpa
The son of Mexican drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, who is imprisoned in the United States, has pleaded "not guilty" in court after his extradition to the United States. Ovidio Guzmán, who is charged with drug trafficking and money laundering, among other charges, pleaded not guilty to all charges, the Ministry of Justice said. The 33-year-old must remain in custody after the reading of the indictment on Monday in Chicago.
Ovidio Guzmán, whose father is serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison, was extradited from Mexico to the U.S. on Friday. The department will continue to hold accountable those responsible for the opioid epidemic in the United States, said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in the course of the extradition. In the United States, the crisis has led to nearly half a million deaths over the past two decades, according to the CDC.
U.S. authorities believe that Ovidio Guzmán and his brothers took command of the Sinaloa drug cartel after their father was arrested a few years ago. For information leading to Ovidio Guzmán's arrest, the United States had offered a reward of up to five million dollars (4.73 million euros).
Arrest in January
At the beginning of January, he was finally caught in Culiacán, the capital of the Mexican state of Sinaloa. During the operation, 29 people were killed – ten military personnel and 19 suspected criminals.
Ovidio Guzmán, who is known as "El Ratón" (the mouse), had initially prevented his immediate extradition to the United States by court order. U.S. authorities accuse him of overseeing nearly a dozen laboratories in Sinaloa for the production of the synthetic drug methamphetamine and of being involved in trafficking in cocaine and marijuana.
A few days before Ovidio Guzmán's extradition, the wife of »El Chapo«, Emma Coronel Aispuro, who had been sentenced to three years in prison in the USA for drug trafficking and money laundering, had been released from custody in the greater Los Angeles area.
Ovidio Guzmán's father was one of the most powerful drug traffickers in the world until his arrest. He managed several prison breaks until he was extradited to the United States after his last arrest in 2016, where he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2019. His sons then took over part of their father's drug business.
"El Chapo" was founded by the Sinaloa Cartel four decades ago, it is one of the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico. The U.S. accuses it, among other things, of flooding the country with fentanyl.