The extradition of Ovidio Guzman Lopez, the son of the notorious drug lord El Chapo, from Mexico to the United States has taken place. He has been transported to Chicago, where he will be facing drug-related charges involving the smuggling of significant quantities of methamphetamine and fentanyl into the United States. US Attorney General Merrick Garland made this announcement, stating that it represents the latest step in the Justice Department’s efforts to combat all aspects of the cartel’s operations.
The Mexican government has not yet responded to requests for comment regarding this extradition. Guzmán López, also known as ‘the Mouse,’ was apprehended by Mexican security forces in January in Culiacan, the capital of the Sinaloa state, which shares its name with the cartel. An earlier attempt to capture him three years ago was aborted due to a violent response from his cartel associates in Culiacan. January’s arrest also triggered violence, resulting in the deaths of 30 people in Culiacan, including 10 military personnel. The military deployed Black Hawk helicopter gunships to counter the cartel’s truck-mounted .50-caliber machine guns. Cartel gunmen targeted two military aircraft, forcing them to land, and attacked the city’s airport, damaging both military and civilian aircraft.
This capture occurred shortly before then-U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to Mexico for bilateral talks, followed by the North American Leaders’ Summit. Attorney General Garland took the opportunity to honor the law enforcement and military personnel who had given their lives in the service of both the United States and Mexico. He emphasized the Justice Department’s commitment to holding those responsible for contributing to the opioid epidemic accountable, which has had devastating effects on numerous communities in the country.
In April, U.S. prosecutors unveiled extensive indictments against Guzmán and his siblings, collectively known as the ‘Chapitos.’ These indictments provided a detailed account of how, following their father’s extradition and subsequent life sentence in the United States, the brothers shifted the cartel’s focus towards synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine and the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl. El Chapo himself was convicted of drug-related charges in 2019 and is serving his sentence in the high-security ADX Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. His ex-girlfriend, Emma Coronel, was recently released from a halfway house.
The indictment in Manhattan revealed that their objective was to produce large quantities of fentanyl and sell it at the lowest possible price. Fentanyl production is so cost-effective that the cartel generates substantial profits even when wholesaling the drug at just 50 cents per pill, according to prosecutors. The brothers have denied these allegations in a written statement.