Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the extradition of drug trafficker Ovidio Guzmán – son of Mexican drug lord Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán – to the United States is now official.
Ovidio Guzmán — nicknamed El Ratón — left Mexico and landed in Chicago on Friday afternoon, Joseph D. Fitzpatrick, assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, told CNN.
In a statement released by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Garland called Guzmán the "leader of the Sinaloa Cartel" and stated that the extradition was the "result of police cooperation between the United States and Mexico." He added that "this action is the latest step in the Department of Justice's effort to target all aspects of the cartel's operations."
Ovidio Guzmán López, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, was extradited to the United States (...) The fight against the cartels has involved incredible courage by U.S. law enforcement and Mexican military and law enforcement personnel, many of whom have given their lives in the pursuit of justice. I am grateful to help and to the department's prosecutors for their work and their sacrifice. I am also grateful to our Mexican government counterparts for this extradition. The Justice Department will continue to hold accountable those responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic that has devastated too many communities across the country.
Two arrests and extradition requests
In 2019, Guzmán was arrested in Culiacán, Mexico. His arrest was very brief. President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, ordered his release after the Sinaloa Cartel threatened to go on a civilian killing spree if he was not freed.
After this event, Guzmán was captured again on January 5, 2023, in Sinaloa during an Armed Forces operation that left 29 dead, 10 of which were military personnel. Violent riots broke out in the region.
Guzmán is wanted by a D.C. court. He was charged with drug trafficking and conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. The extradition had been provisionally suspended, so it became a tough court battle that will conclude with his next appearances in US courts. The date has yet to be determined.
The recent release of El Chapo's wife
Just this week, the Federal Bureau of Prisons reported on the release of Emma Coronel – El Chapo's wife and Ovidio's stepmother – from a social rehabilitation center in Long Beach (California) where she was being held.
Coronel's release came after serving her sentence on drug trafficking and money laundering charges linked to the Sinaloa Cartel. In February 2021, she was arrested in Virginia for drug trafficking. In June of that same year, she pleaded guilty to three charges including international drug trafficking and money laundering and a criminal violation of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (the Kingpin Act).
Coronel was released and will be on supervised release for four years.