“Sol Prendido” for Borderland Beat
“El Chapo” also faced federal drug charges in Chicago, but he was ultimately prosecuted in federal court in Brooklyn. Now his son will likely be arraigned at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago’s Loop sometime in the near future.
A son of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera has been extradited to Chicago five months after the feds unveiled sweeping charges against four of the Sinaloa leader’s children, accusing the so-called “Chapitos” of running their dad’s deadly cartel through brutal violence.
Ovidio Guzman Lopez was extradited from Mexico and arrived in Chicago Friday, according to a law enforcement source.
He was among four “El Chapo” sons charged as part of a wider Justice Department campaign against what Attorney General Merrick Garland at the time called “the largest, most violent and most prolific fentanyl-trafficking operation in the world — run by the Sinaloa Cartel and fueled by Chinese precursor chemical and pharmaceutical companies.”
Also charged in Chicago are Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar, Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar, and Joaquin Guzman Lopez.
Ovidio Guzman Lopez is the first to arrive in Chicago.
Though their father also faced federal drug charges here, he was ultimately prosecuted in federal court in Brooklyn. “El Chapo” is serving a life sentence following his 2019 conviction.
But now, his son likely will be arraigned at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago’s Loop sometime in the near future. Though it’s unclear exactly when that will occur, it is certain to unfold amid significant security.
The four sons of “El Chapo” were accused in April by Justice Department officials of torturing their enemies by electrocuting them, waterboarding them and feeding them alive to tigers. Authorities said Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar and Jesus Guzman Salazar kept the animals on ranches as pets.
Meanwhile, fentanyl-related deaths in Chicago and elsewhere in the country have risen to alarming levels, prompting the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal and local law enforcement agencies to boost their efforts to cut off the supply in Mexico.
Fentanyl — 50 times more potent than heroin — is the leading cause of death for Americans 18 to 49, authorities say.
Anne Milgram, the DEA’s administrator, said in April that the men took their father’s cartel and made it “more ruthless, more violent, more deadly. And they used it to spread a new poison: fentanyl.”
An indictment in Chicago tied the “Chapitos” to at least four killings. It said the brothers were involved in the Battle of Culiacan in the Sinaloa Cartel’s stronghold in Mexico where, on Oct. 17, 2019, about 700 armed cartel members attacked government and military targets, thwarting the capture of Ovidio Guzman Lopez. At least 13 people died.
That indictment also said the “Chapitos” shipped drugs from countries in Central America and South America to Mexico using aircraft, submarines, boats and other carriers, then smuggled them into the United States using vehicles, rail cars and tunnels.
The Chicago case alleges they sold and distributed cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana throughout the Chicago area. Several indictments in New York also accused the brothers of being fentanyl traffickers.
The Chicago indictment also accuses the “Chapitos” of murder, kidnapping and assault against law enforcement, rivals and members of their own cartel. In 2017, for instance, they kidnapped two Mexican federal police officers, fatally shooting one and torturing the other before killing that officer, too. The torture involved ripping the officer’s muscles from his arm and stuffing chili peppers into the wounds and his nose, authorities say.