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Montevideo, May 22nd 2024 - 14:06 UTC



Chapito Guzmán not to be deported for now

Saturday, January 7th 2023 - 11:24 UTC
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Ovidio Guzmán López is wanted in the United States for distributing cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana between 2008 and 2018. Ovidio Guzmán López is wanted in the United States for distributing cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana between 2008 and 2018.

A Mexican judge Friday agreed to Ovidio Guzmán's request not to be extradited to the United States.

The high-profile member of the Sinaloa cartel, who was arrested this week in a bloody raid leaving at least 29 people dead, is currently housed at the maximum security Almoloya prison in Toluca.

The 32-year-old Ovidio -also known as El Ratón (The Mouse)- is one of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán's sons and is listed among Washington's most-wanted. However, Friday's ruling suspended “the acts consisting of deportation, expulsion, extradition and its execution.”

The injunction measure is limited “to the effect that they are not executed and that the defendant remains in the place where he is at the disposition of this court, only in relation to his personal liberty and is not delivered to the government of the United States of America, nor to any other State.”

Likewise, the magistrate granted another injunction to prevent the alleged drug trafficker from being incommunicado and be therefore allowed to contact his family and legal team. The judge also requested to be briefed on the detainee's physical condition, particularly “if he shows signs of injuries.”

Thursday's arrest in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa state, came days before US President Joseph Biden's visit to Mexico for the North American Leaders' Summit. Mexican President AndrÈs Manuel LÛpez Obrador (AMLO) denied any connection between the two events.

AMLO and Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard ruled out Friday that the extradition would be fast-tracked and said it would take between four and six weeks for the United States to file criminal charges against Chapo Guzm·n's son, who also goes by the alias El Chapito (Little Chapo).

Security and Citizen Protection Secretary Rosa Icela RodrÌguez said that Ovidio is facing charges in Mexico for crimes against health (drug trafficking) and related to firearms. He is also investigated for organized crime. The United States filed the extradition request on September 19, 2019, and offered US$ 5 million for his capture as of December 2021. It charges the drug trafficker with crimes related to conspiracy to smuggle drugs into the country.

Chapito was first arrested on Oct. 17, 2019, of that year, in an operation known as “culiacanazo,” but he was released hours later due to reprisals from his fellow gang members.

Ovidio Guzmán López, along with his brother Joaquín Guzmán López, is wanted in the United States for criminal association regarding illicit drugs. According to US authorities, the brothers partnered to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana between 2008 and 2018.

The Sinaloa Cartel, which Ovidio Guzman leads since his father's arrest and deportation to the US, exports and distributes large quantities of fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana and also dominates the Arizona and California drug corridors.

“The biggest fentanyl threat to the United States is the Sinaloa Cartel given its ability to have clandestine laboratories in areas of Mexico,” the DEA noted in its most recent annual report.

According to US health authorities, fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin, accounts for numerous overdoses in the United States.

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