MEXICO CITY — Mexico extradited Ovidio Guzmán López, a son of former Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, to the United States on Friday to face drug trafficking, cash laundering and different prices, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated in a press release.
“This action is the most recent step in the Justice Department’s effort to attack every aspect of the cartel’s operations,” Garland stated.
The Mexican authorities didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
Mexican safety forces captured Guzmán López, alias “the Mouse,” in January in Culiacan, capital of Sinaloa state, the cartel’s namesake.
Three years earlier, the federal government had tried to seize him, however aborted the operation after his cartel allies set off a wave of violence in Culiacan.
January’s arrest set off comparable violence that killed 30 individuals in Culiacan, together with 10 army personnel. The military used Black Hawk helicopter gunships in opposition to the cartel’s truck-mounted .50-caliber machine weapons. Cartel gunmen hit two army plane forcing them to land and despatched gunmen to town’s airport the place army and civilian plane have been hit by gunfire.
The seize got here simply days earlier than U.S. President Joe Biden visited Mexico for bilateral talks adopted by the North American Leaders’ Summit.
On Friday, Garland acknowledged the legislation enforcement and army members who had given their lives within 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.”
Mike Vigil, former head of worldwide operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration, stated he believed the Mexican authorities facilitated the extradition, as a result of for somebody of Guzmán López’s excessive profile it normally takes at the very least two years to win extradition as attorneys make quite a few filings as a delaying tactic.
“This happened quicker than normal,” Vigil stated, noting that some conservative members of the U.S. Congress had raised the thought of U.S. army intervention if Mexico didn’t do extra to cease the move of medication. Vigil dismissed that concept as “political theater,” however advised it added strain on Mexico to behave.
Homeland Security Adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall stated in assertion that the extradition “is testament to the significance of the ongoing cooperation between the American and Mexican governments on countering narcotics and other vital challenges, and we thank our Mexican counterparts for their partnership in working to safeguard our peoples from violent criminals.”
Sherwood-Randall made a number of visits to Mexico this yr to fulfill with President Andrés Manuel López-Obrador, most lately final month.
In April, U.S. prosecutors unsealed sprawling indictments in opposition to Guzmán and his brothers, recognized collectively because the “Chapitos.” They specified by element how following their father’s extradition and eventual life sentence within the U.S., the brothers steered the cartel more and more into artificial medication like methamphetamine and the highly effective artificial opioid fentanyl.
The indictment unsealed in Manhattan stated their aim was to supply big portions of fentanyl and promote it on the lowest value. Fentanyl is so low cost to make that the cartel reaps immense earnings even wholesaling the drug at 50 cents per tablet, prosecutors stated. The brothers denied the allegations in a letter.
The Chapitos grew to become recognized for grotesque violence that appeared to surpass any notions of restraint proven by earlier generations of cartel leaders.
Vigil described Guzmán López as a mid-level chief within the cartel and never even the chief of the brothers.
“It’s a symbolic victory but it’s not going to have any impact whatsoever on the Sinaloa cartel,” he stated. “It will continue to function, it will continue to send drugs into the United States, especially being the largest producers of fentanyl.”
Fentanyl has develop into a high precedence within the bilateral safety relationship. But López Obrador has described his nation as a transit level for precursors coming from China and sure for the U.S., regardless of assertions by the U.S. authorities and his personal army about fentanyl manufacturing in Mexico.
López Obrador blames a deterioration of household values within the U.S. for the excessive ranges of drug habit in that nation.
An estimated 109,680 overdose deaths occurred final yr within the United States, in response to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 75,000 of these have been linked to fentanyl and different artificial opioids.
Inexpensive fentanyl is more and more reduce into different medication, typically with out the patrons’ information.
Mexico’s fentanyl seizures usually come when the drug has already been pressed into capsules and is headed for the U.S. border.
U.S. prosecutors allege a lot of the manufacturing happens in and round Culiacan, the place the Sinaloa cartel exerts close to full management.