A federal judge in Mexico City on Friday halted the extradition to the United States of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán’s son, the alleged leader of the Ovidio Guzmán drug cartel, a day after he was arrested in an intensive operation in northern Mexico that led to Death of resulted 29 people.
The US is demanding Guzmán’s extradition on drug trafficking charges and has offered up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of the man it says is “a senior member of the Sinaloa cartel”.
On Thursday, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard confirmed that the US had an arrest warrant dated September 19, 2019, but said any possible extradition of Guzmán would not happen immediately due to the law’s formalities. He also explained that Guzmán has an ongoing court case in Mexico.
According to the Televisa network and other Mexican media outlets, another federal judge later ordered Guzmán to remain in preventive detention for 60 days awaiting extradition after a hearing at the maximum-security Altiplano federal prison, where he is being held.
CNN has requested a response from Guzmán’s defense but has not yet received a response.
Video of the arrest of El Chapo’s son (October 2019)
– Source: CNN
Guzmán’s father, “El Chapo,” escaped from Altiplano Prison on July 11, 2015 through a mile-long tunnel through which a motorcycle on rails went. He was later arrested in the US and four years later convicted on 10 counts, including involvement in an ongoing 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 arrested by federal authorities in October 2019 but released by order 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 visit 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 Mexico’s armed forces and security situation,” said Gladys McCormick, an associate professor at Syracuse University specializing in relations between… Mexico and the US, told CNN in an email.
“It also defuses the power behind any request by the Biden administration to stem the flow of fentanyl and other narcotics across the border,” she added.
At a news conference on Friday, López Obrador denied that Guzmán’s arrest was linked to Biden’s arrival and said Mexican authorities acted autonomously.
“There are many interpretations, we do not share them, we acted autonomously,” said the Mexican President.
Chaos broke out in the city following Guzmán’s arrest in Culiacan on Thursday. Authorities urged citizens to take refuge in several areas due to clashes.
His arrest was the result of a lengthy operation involving 200 special forces, Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval said on Friday. Local officials urged citizens to protect themselves at home amid clashes with cartel members in different parts of the city.
At least 19 suspected gang members and 10 military personnel died in 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 been tightened since Guzmán’s detention, the minister added.
The President said later Friday that the city was calmer and officials were working to clear the streets.
“In Culiacán, we have opened all the blocked roads and are working to remove the vehicles that are parked along the roads,” said López Obrador.
The state of Sinaloa, where Culiacán is located, is home to one of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in the world, the Sinaloa Cartel, of which “El Chapo” was the leader.
The US State Department wrote that a law enforcement investigation found that Guzmán and his brother Joaquín Guzmán-López “inherited a majority of the narcotics proceeds” following the death of another brother, Edgar Guzmán-López.
They “began investing large amounts of money buying marijuana in Mexico and cocaine in Colombia. They also began buying large quantities of ephedrine from Argentina and arranged for the product to be smuggled into Mexico when they began experimenting with methamphetamine production,” the State Department said.
The brothers are also said to oversee an estimated 11 “methamphetamine labs in the state of Sinaloa,” the State Department says.