Ovidio Guzman pleaded not guilty to all the charges he faces before US justice, including drug trafficking and money laundering. Ovidio is one of the sons of the Mexican drug trafficker also extradited to the United States, Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, and who is now sentenced to life in prison. Son and father could suffer the same fate.
Shackled at his ankles and dressed in the traditional orange jumpsuit used for inmates in the United States, Ovidio Guzman listened to the hearing held in federal court in Chicago with the help of a Spanish interpreter.
“Not guilty” was Ovidio Guzman’s response to the charges that the American justice system imputes to him: possession of drugs with the intent to distribute them, participation in a continuous criminal enterprise, conspiracy to import, manufacture and distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to launder money. money and carrying firearms.
Ovidio Guzman was extradited to the United States on September 15. The North American country required him as well as his father, ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, for being behind most of the trafficking of fentanyl, a synthetic drug that causes the death of dozens of people daily in the United States.
The US Department of Justice said the arrest and extradition of Ovidio Guzman represents a significant victory in the Biden administration’s campaign to stop the deadly flow of fentanyl across the southern border.
“Guzman’s extradition demonstrates the importance of cooperation between the US and Mexican governments to stop drug trafficking.”
The US State Department has offered million-dollar rewards for information leading to the capture of Guzman’s brothers. The ‘chapitos’, as the brothers are known who inherited the criminal empire from their father Joaquin Guzman Loera, who was the top leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.
‘El Chapo’ Guzman rose to international fame commanding that cartel. And after twice escaping from Mexican prisons he was extradited to the United States in 2017 and convicted in federal court in Brooklyn.
The hard hunt for the “mouse”
Ovidio Guzman, also known as the “mouse,” could face a mandatory life sentence for the crimes he is accused of, according to prosecutors in the case. The severity of the crimes could also apply the death penalty, but the United States agreed not to apply it as part of its extradition negotiation with Mexico.
Before his extradition, Guzman had already been briefly arrested in 2019 in the state of Sinaloa, in northern Mexico. But President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ordered his release after members of the Sinaloa Cartel organized a large-scale armed operation in the state capital, Culiacan, known as ‘culiacanazo’.
The violent acts of the ‘culiacanazo’ caused at least 30 deaths, including 10 soldiers. The level of violence and weapons sophistication of the Sinaloa Cartel was such that the Mexican Army had to use Black Hawk helicopter gunships.
Cartel gunmen attacked two military planes, forcing them to land, and then attacked the city’s airport, where civilian planes were also hit by gunfire.
Fentanyl, Ovidio Guzman’s main weapon
Fentanyl, a highly addictive synthetic opioid, causes almost 200 deaths a day in the United States, a figure that has strained relations between Washington and Mexico City.
The Mexican president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has a strong speech about the responsibility of consumer countries like the United States, but that does not prevent him from collaborating with the justice system in that country. Obrador has allowed the extradition of ‘El Chapo’ and the first of the four ‘chapitos’.
The US pressure on Mexico due to the effects of fentanyl is very high. Right behind fentanyl is Ovidio Guzman and the Sinaloa Cartel. According to US officials, the Sinaloa Cartel is primarily responsible for manufacturing and exporting fentanyl across the border.
In court documents, prosecutors said Ovidio Guzman and his brothers commanded a massive international trafficking operation that transported drugs to the United States using planes, submarines, fishing boats and railroad cars and made hundreds of millions of dollars in profits.
Ovidio Guzman’s next appointment with justice will be in November.
With Reuters and AP
Source: France 24