There's a Hitch in Extradition of 'El Chapo' Son

Mexican federal judge has halted the move; foreign minister cites law 'formalities' for Ovidio Guzman
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2023 4:50 PM CST
Updated Jan 7, 2023 8:30 AM CST
Violence Follows Arrest of Son of 'El Chapo' in Mexico
Mexican Public Safety Secretary Rosa Icela Rodriguez, right, and Mexican Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval leave after a news conference Thursday announcing the arrest of Ovidio Guzman Lopez in Mexico City.   (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
UPDATE Jan 7, 2023 8:30 AM CST

A Mexico City federal judge on Friday halted the extradition of Ovidio Guzman, son of druglord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, to the United States on drug trafficking charges. Per CNN, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard has acknowledged the 2019 arrest warrant for Guzman out of the US, but he said Thursday that Guzman's immediate extradition wasn't possible due to law formalities, as well as other legal proceedings Guzman has to contend with in Mexico first. The judge also suspended a measure that was keeping Guzman from having contact with his family members and lawyers, per Axios. Per local media, a second federal judge on Friday mandated that Guzman stay in 60 days of preventive detention, for the eventual goal of extradition.

Jan 5, 2023 4:50 PM CST

In a move sure to please the US government, 900 troops from Mexico's army and national guard mounted an operation Thursday that resulted in the arrest of Ovidio Guzman, son of the druglord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman—days before a visit by President Biden. Violence followed the arrest in the northern state of Sinaloa, where the younger Guzman was taken into custody, the Washington Post reports. Gunmen erected roadblocks, taking vehicles while looting others, and shooting at planes at the airport in the capital of Culiacan. One state official advised residents to not try to leave Culiacan, while the education secretary announced that schools were closed and that people in high-risk places should find a safe place, per CNN.

The US State Department had sought Guzman's extradition for years and had posted a $5 million reward for information in the case. Investigations have shown that Guzman and a brother, Joaquin Guzman-Lopez, "inherited a great deal of the narcotics proceeds" when another brother, Edgar Guzman-Lopez, died, the department said. The surviving brothers used much of the cash to buy marijuana in Mexico and cocaine in Colombia while operating about 11 methamphetamine labs in Sinaloa. Their father, who ran the Sinaloa Cartel, was sentenced to life in prison in the US in 2020.

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Ovidio Guzman was arrested in 2019 but released on the president's orders to avoid more violence after the cartel's forces seized control of much of Culiacan. He's considered the least effective of El Chapo's sons, per the New York Times, and it's not clear that his detention will hurt the cartel. But it's a victory for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador after the embarrassment of the 2019 release and comes in time for Biden's arrival Monday for a summit that includes Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The flow of fentanyl from Mexico to the US is a likely topic when the US and Mexican leaders meet Monday. (More Sinaloa drug cartel stories.)

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