CHICAGO (WLS) — A son of the notorious drug lord known as El Chapo arrived in the United States on Friday following his extradition from Mexico to face drug trafficking charges, according to ABC News sources.
Ovidio Guzman Lopez, 33, was charged in April with two dozen others as part of a crackdown targeting a global drug trafficking network run through Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.
He was flown to Chicago, but is also charged in New York and Washington, D.C. He is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center downtown.
Law enforcement sources told the ABC7 Chicago I-Team that Guzman Lopez is expected to make his initial court appearance on Monday.
According to the charges, the cartel used precursor chemicals shipped from China to fuel the fentanyl crisis plaguing the U.S. The I-Team has reported that the cartel has been responsible for 80% of street drugs flooding metro Chicago streets the past three decades, according to law enforcement officials.
The I-Team also reported on Guzman Lopez’s arrest in Mexico.
Guzman Lopez had been wanted by U.S. authorities since 2019 and captured by Mexican armed forces in January in a small town just outside the city of Culiacán, the capital of the Mexican state of Sinaloa.
He was captured in an overnight raid that had been in the works for more than six months, officials said at the time.
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The arrest followed an infamous incident in 2019, in which authorities briefly detained Guzman Lopez at a home in Culiacán, before word spread and heavily armed gunmen flooded the city. Massive shootouts occurred between cartel members and Mexican armed forces around the city. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador ordered Guzman Lopez released in order to avoid more bloodshed.
Guzman Lopez and his brothers are known as Los Chapitos; the four most-trusted sons of the world’s most notorious drug kingpin.
As the I-Team has reported for several years, federal drug investigators in Chicago consider El Chapo’s sons in charge of the Sinaloa cartel. Guzman Lopez was considered the leader of the cartel’s fentanyl division.
His father, El Chapo, is serving a life sentence in the U.S. after being convicted in 2019 of conducting a continuing criminal enterprise, including large-scale narcotics violations and a murder conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracies, unlawful use of a firearm and a money laundering conspiracy.
El Chapo’s wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, was released from her California halfway house this week after being convicted of helping run the Mexican drug cartel for which her husband was the boss.
Aispuro was sentenced in November 2021 to 36 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to money laundering and conspiring to distribute cocaine, meth, heroin and marijuana for import into the U.S. She was also ordered to pay almost $1.5 million in fines.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a statement, saying, “Today, as a result of United States and Mexico law enforcement cooperation, Ovidio Guzman Lopez, a leader of the Sinaloa Cartel was extradited to the United States. This action is the most recent step in the Justice Department’s effort to attack every aspect of the cartel’s operations. The fight against the cartels has involved incredible courage by United States law enforcement and Mexican law enforcement and military servicemembers, many of whom have given their lives in the pursuit of justice. I am grateful to them 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.”
ABC News contributed to this report.