For 252 days, Ovidio Guzman, El Raton, clung to Mexican soil, postponing what could not be postponed: his extradition to the United States. But that countdown has come to a surprising end.
This Friday, in the midst of preparations for the Grito de Independencia, MILENIO learned that a group of guards from the area known as AMESVE or Area of Special Security Measures and Special Surveillance, arrived at Corridor 2 of the prison and asked the son of the founder of the Sinaloa Cartel to gather his belongings and get ready to leave his cell.
Ovidio Guzmán, accustomed to attending to the numerous proceedings that his legal team has filed to delay his transfer to the United States, complied with the instruction without resistance. In the area of Special Security Measures, the inmates are only entitled to 15 minutes in the yard without contact with other prisoners, so every outing is usually well received. It was even longed for as a way to get out of a tedious routine.
It seemed like any other day. From January 6 to September 15 of this year, the member of the criminal group Los Chapitos slept in the maximum security prison of Altiplano in the hope of not setting foot in the United States and avoid facing the eleven criminal charges against him in the United States, which bring him closer to a life sentence, the same sentence that weighs on his father Joaquin El Chapo Guzman.
In silence, the Sinaloan walked through the corridors that separate the area of the most dangerous inmates from the offices of the prison bureaucracy and, surrounded by guard officers wearing masks, the director of the prison personally informed him that the request of the government of President Joe Biden to take him out of the country had been approved.
“Sir, you are leaving,” one of the guards mumbled at Ovidio Guzmán’s surprised expression, according to sources consulted by this newspaper. Without raising his voice, the alleged drug trafficker asked to speak to his lawyer Alberto Diaz Mendieta, but the phone call was denied at that moment.
The reaction of El Raton, accused of being one of the most dangerous traffickers of fentanyl to the United States, was consistent with his behavior in El Altiplano, the prison from which his father escaped on July 11, 2015 with the help of his wife and stepmother of Ovidio Guzman, Emma Coronel, who was released from prison in the United States just two days ago.
The Mexican government guards stepped aside and their place was taken by a small group of Interpol personnel who had arrived at the maximum security prison in a helicopter owned by the Attorney General’s Office.
He looked sad, says Altiplano personnel
A member of the Altiplano prison staff assured that Ovidio Guzman did not look angry when he was taken out of his confinement, but that he looked sad.
“(He is) a quiet guy, respectful, the truth. He never gave problems. He was in the most guarded and restricted area because of who he is, because of his brothers and his father, but not because he was dangerous or violent. I would say that he even looked sad, but not angry,” said a member of the Altiplano staff.
On January 7 of this year, two days after his capture in Culiacán, Ovidio Guzmán’s lawyers asked a federal judge to allow them to send their client a series of medications against depression and anxiety, as well as special food for a diet that would not irritate his stomach due to his frequent gastritis problems.
Ovidio Guzman’s subdued personality caught the attention of the guards, who could not decipher if he was a young man genuinely subdued by anxiety or if it was an act to convince the judge that his stay in Mexico did not represent any danger and that there was no need to send him to the United States.
In the last few days -they say- his mood had improved. His legal team had given him a slim hope that could keep him longer in Mexico: an injunction in which they argued that Ovidio Guzmán was not Ovidio Guzmán, but that the young man captured was someone else and with a different identity than that of Joaquín Guzmán Loera’s son. An implausible argument, said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, with which the Sinaloa Cartel hoped to buy time.
“The lawyers use these legal tactics to gain time, they are dilatory, legitimate because lawyers are dedicated to that, but of course it is about Ovidio,” confirmed the President in March from the National Palace.
If the legal process that will follow him on the other side of the Rio Bravo concludes that he should have the same punishment as his father, El Raton will have been moved from a harsh maximum security prison in Mexico to a ruthless maximum security prison in the United States.
Then, at 33 years old, he will live in a three-by-two meter cell, extreme isolation as applied to the worst terrorists and, if he does well, a five-minute phone call every month.