Ovidio Guzmán: ‘El Chapo’ son’s extradition to US halted after 29 killed in arrest operation

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CNN

A federal judge in Mexico City halted the extradition to the United States of the son of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, drug cartel leader Ovidio Guzmán, on Friday, a day after he was arrested in intense activity in northern Mexico that resulted in the death of 29 people.

The US is seeking Guzmán’s extradition for drug trafficking and has offered up to $5 million for information leading to the capture of the man it says is “a senior member of the Sinaloa Cartel.”

On Thursday, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard confirmed that there is an arrest warrant in the US dated September 19, 2019, but said that Guzmán’s possible extradition would not be immediate due to legal formalities. He also said that Guzmán has an ongoing trial in Mexico.

According to the Televisa network and other Mexican media, another federal judge ordered Guzmán to remain in 60 days of preventive detention for an additional reason after a hearing at the Altiplano federal security prison where he is being held.

CNN has requested a response from Guzmán’s defense but has yet to hear back.

el chapo son arrested ovidio guzman lopez

Video of El Chapo’s son being arrested (October 2019)

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– Source: CNN

Guzmán’s father, “El Chapo,” had escaped from Altiplano prison on July 11, 2015 through a mile-long tunnel with motorcycle tracks. He was subsequently caught and convicted in the US four years later of 10 counts, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, drug trafficking and firearms charges. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years and ordered to pay $12.6 billion in forfeiture.

Ovidio Guzmán was previously arrested by federal authorities in October 2019, but was released on the orders of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to avoid further bloodshed.

His latest arrest comes days before US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrive in Mexico City to attend the North American Leaders Summit.

Capturing Guzmán could be a way for López Obrador to show the US that he is “in control of the armed forces and the Mexican security situation,” said Gladys McCormick, an associate professor at Syracuse University who focuses on Mexico-US relations, told CNN in a statement. email

“It also eliminates the power behind any bid by the Biden administration to stop the flow of fentanyl and other narcotics across the border,” she said.

At a press conference on Friday, López Obrador denied that Guzmán’s arrest was connected to Biden’s arrival, saying that the Mexican authorities had acted independently.

“About definitions, there are a lot of them, we do not share them, we were involved in independence,” said the Mexican president.

After Guzmán was arrested in Culiacán on Thursday, chaos erupted in the city. The authorities asked citizens to seek shelter because of conflict in several areas.

His arrest was the result of a long operation involving 200 special forces, Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval said on Friday. Local officials urged citizens to take shelter at home amid clashes with cartel members in various parts of the city.

Guzmán was previously arrested in October 2019 but was released on the orders of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to avoid further bloodshed.

At least 19 suspected gang members and 10 military personnel died during violent clashes in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa, after authorities arrested Guzmán, along with 21 others. No civilian deaths or injuries were reported.

Security at the Altiplano prison has increased since Guzman’s detention, the minister said.

The President said later Friday that the city was calmer as officials worked to clear the roads.

“In Culiacán, we opened all the closed roads and we are working to remove the vehicles that are on the side of the streets,” said López Obrador.

The state of Sinaloa, where Culiacán is located, is home to one of the most powerful narcotics trafficking organizations in the world, the Sinaloa Cartel, of which “El Chapo” was the leader.

A soldier stands guard near the wreckage of a truck set on fire by drug gang members in Sinaloa, after Guzmán was detained by Mexican authorities.

The US State Department wrote that law enforcement investigations indicated that Guzmán and his brother, Joaquín Guzmán-López, inherited “much of the narcotics money” after the death of another brother, Edgar Guzmán-López.

They began “investing much of the money in buying marijuana in Mexico and cocaine in Colombia. They also began purchasing large amounts of ephedrine from Argentina and arranged for the product to be smuggled into Mexico as they began to experiment with the production of methamphetamine,” the State Department said.

The brothers are also said to oversee about 11 “methamphetamine laboratories in the state of Sinaloa,” the State Department says.

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