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Son of Mexican cartel head ‘El Chapo’ extradited to U.S. to face drug charges – National

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Mexico extradited Ovidio Guzman Lopez, a son of former Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, to the United States on Friday to face drug trafficking charges, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

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

The Mexican government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mexican security forces captured Guzman Lopez, alias “the Mouse,” in January in Culiacan, capital of Sinaloa state, the cartel’s namesake.

Three years earlier, the government had tried to capture him, but aborted the operation after his cartel allies set off a wave of violence in Culiacan.

January’s arrest set off similar violence that killed 30 people in Culiacan, including 10 military personnel.

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FILE – A truck burns after being set on fire in Culiacan, Sinaloa state, Mexico, Jan. 5, 2023, the day the government detained Ovidio Guzman, the son of imprisoned drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, which unleashed deadly firefights between the military and suspected members of the Sinaloa drug cartel. With Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán serving a life sentence, his sons steered the family business into fentanyl, establishing a network of labs churning out massive quantities they smuggled into the U.S., prosecutors in the U.S. revealed in an indictment unsealed April 14, 2023 in Manhattan. (AP Photo/Martin Urista, File).

The army used Black Hawk helicopter gunships against the cartel’s truck-mounted .50-caliber machine guns. Cartel gunmen hit two military aircraft forcing them to land and sent gunmen to the city’s airport where military and civilian aircraft were hit by gunfire.

The capture came just days before U.S. President Joe Biden visited Mexico for bilateral talks followed by the North American Leaders’ Summit.

On Friday, Garland recognized the law enforcement and military members who had given their lives in the U.S. and Mexico. “The Justice Department will continue to hold accountable those responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic that has devastated too many communities across the country.”


Click to play video: 'Understanding Mexico’s cartel violence'


Understanding Mexico’s cartel violence


In April, U.S. prosecutors unsealed sprawling indictments against Guzman and his brothers, known collectively as the “Chapitos.” They laid out in detail how following their father’s extradition and eventual life sentence in the U.S., the brothers steered the cartel increasingly into synthetic drugs like methamphetamine and the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl.

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The indictment unsealed in Manhattan said their goal was to produce huge quantities of fentanyl and sell it at the lowest price. Fentanyl is so cheap to make that the cartel reaps immense profits even wholesaling the drug at 50 cents per pill, prosecutors said. The brothers denied the allegations in a letter.

The Chapitos became known for grotesque violence that appeared to surpass any notions of restraint shown by earlier generations of cartel leaders.

Fentanyl has become a top priority in the bilateral security relationship. But Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has denied assertions by the U.S. government and his own military about fentanyl production in Mexico, instead describing the country as a transit point for precursors coming from China and bound for the U.S.

Lopez Obrador blames a deterioration of family values in the U.S. for the high levels of drug addiction in that country.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press



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