MEXICO CITY — Mexico has extradited Ovidio Guzmán López, the son of former Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, to the United States to face drug trafficking charges, according to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Garland stated, “This action is the most recent step in the Justice Department’s effort to attack every aspect of the cartel’s operations.”
The Mexican government has not yet commented on the extradition.
Guzmán López, also known as “the Mouse,” was captured by Mexican security forces in January in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state.
An earlier attempt to capture Guzmán López was aborted by the government three years ago after his cartel allies unleashed violence in Culiacan.
The arrest in January resulted in a wave of violence that killed 30 people in Culiacan, including 10 military personnel.
The army used 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 also attacked the city’s airport where both military and civilian aircraft were hit by gunfire.
Guzmán López’s capture took place just days before U.S. President Joe Biden visited Mexico for bilateral talks followed by the North American Leaders’ Summit.
In April, U.S. prosecutors unsealed indictments against Guzmán and his brothers, collectively known as the “Chapitos.” The indictments detailed how after their father’s extradition and life sentence in the U.S., the brothers shifted the cartel’s focus to synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine and fentanyl.
The unsealed indictment in Manhattan revealed that their goal was to produce large quantities of fentanyl and sell it at a low price. Prosecutors stated that fentanyl production is so inexpensive for the cartel that they can make immense profits even when wholesaling the drug at just 50 cents per pill.
The Chapitos gained notoriety for their extreme violence, surpassing the actions of earlier generations of cartel leaders.
Fentanyl has become a major concern in the U.S.-Mexico security relationship. However, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has disputed claims by the U.S. government and his own military, stating that Mexico is not a major producer of fentanyl. He views Mexico as a transit point for fentanyl precursors originating from China and bound for the U.S.
López Obrador attributes the high levels of drug addiction in the U.S. to a deterioration of family values in that country.