US Attorney General Merrick Garland at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, USA, 15 August 2023. EFEEPA FILE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

‘El Chapo’ son Ovidio Guzmán extradited to US

Washington, Sep 15 (EFE).- Ovidio Guzmán, a son of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, arrived in the United States on Friday after he was extradited from Mexico, the US Justice Department said.

“This action is the most recent step in the Justice Department’s effort to attack every aspect of the cartel’s operations,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

Guzmán, who was arrested by Mexican authorities in January, was wanted by Washington for alleged fentanyl trafficking and faces federal charges in various courts in the country.

Garland thanked the Mexican government for extraditing Guzmán and assured that the US will continue working to bring to justice to “those responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic that has devastated too many communities across the country.”

In April, the Justice Department filed charges in three different federal districts against Guzmán and three of his brothers for having allegedly assumed leadership of the Sinaloa Cartel after the arrest and subsequent extradition of their father to the US.

The charges, in the federal districts of Southern New York, Northern Illinois and the District of Columbia, were issued as part of enforcement actions against “the largest, most violent, and most prolific fentanyl trafficking operation in the world – run by the Sinaloa Cartel, and fueled by Chinese precursor chemical and pharmaceutical companies.”

The Sinaloa cartel, according to Washington, is one of the most powerful drug cartels in the world and largely responsible for the manufacturing and importing of fentanyl for distribution in the US, where the drug, considered 50 times more potent than heroin, is “the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 49.”

Guzmán and his brothers, known as the “Chapitos,” are also alleged to have repeatedly and consistently transported lethal amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, according to the Department of Justice.

US authorities say the cartel has engaged in drug trafficking activities into the US, and violence, spanning over a decade and a half.

Mexican security forces detained Guzmán on Jan. 5 in the northern state of Sinaloa and later transferred him to the Federal Center for Social Readaptation (Cefereso) number 1 Altiplano, also known as the Almoloya prison, in the State of Mexico, where father was held and escaped from in 2015.

The arrest occurred days before US President Joe Biden arrived in Mexico for the North American Leaders Summit, although the Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador denied any relationship between the two events. EFE