Monday, 2 October 2023


Son of drug kingpin ‘El Chapo’ pleads not guilty to US trafficking charges By Reuters

Son of drug kingpin 'El Chapo' pleads not guilty to US trafficking charges


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ovidio Guzman, son of kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, is briefly captured by Mexican military police in a residential compound near the centre of Culiacan in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico October 17, 2019 in this still image taken from a hel


By Eric Cox and Joseph Ax

CHICAGO (Reuters) -Ovidio Guzman, one of the sons of incarcerated Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, pleaded not guilty to U.S. fentanyl trafficking charges on Monday in federal court in Chicago, prosecutors said, three days after his extradition from Mexico.

Guzman, 33, is one of El Chapo’s four sons, known as “Los Chapitos,” who inherited their father’s trafficking empire after his conviction on U.S. murder and drug charges in 2019. “El Chapo” Guzman is serving a life sentence in a maximum-security prison in Colorado.

U.S. officials said Ovidio Guzman’s arrest and extradition represents a significant victory in the Biden administration’s campaign to stem the deadly flow of fentanyl across the southern border.

During a brief hearing under tight security, Guzman, wearing an orange jumpsuit with his ankles shackled, listened to the proceeding through a Spanish interpreter, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Guzman was briefly arrested in Culiacan in the northern state of Sinaloa in 2019. But President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ordered him released after hundreds of Sinaloa Cartel gunmen overwhelmed security forces in the city.

Guzman was captured again in January after an intense firefight. The U.S. requested his extradition in February.

Two of the six counts Guzman faces carry a mandatory life sentence, prosecutors said, according to the Tribune. The U.S. agreed not to pursue the death penalty as part of its extradition negotiation with Mexico, the newspaper reported.

Guzman waived his right to a detention hearing and will be held without bail until trial, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago said. His next court date is scheduled for November.

Fentanyl, a highly addictive synthetic opioid, is responsive for nearly 200 American deaths a day, a toll that has strained U.S.-Mexico relations and put domestic pressure on the Biden administration to slow the spread of the deadly drug.

The Sinaloa Cartel is primarily responsible for manufacturing and exporting fentanyl across the border, according to U.S. officials.

In court papers, prosecutors said Ovidio Guzman and his brothers operated an international trafficking operation that…

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