A son of the Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been extradited to the United States, where he is wanted on fentanyl trafficking charges, Mexican and US authorities announced on Friday.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said Ovidio Guzman had been extradited, calling it the latest step in US efforts to attack “every aspect” of the drug trafficking operations run by the Sinaloa Cartel long associated with the Guzman family.
“I am also grateful to our Mexican government counterparts for this extradition,” Mr Garland said.
“The Justice Department will continue to hold accountable those responsible for fuelling the opioid epidemic that has devastated too many communities across the country.”
Mr Guzman, one of the heirs to his father’s trafficking empire, was briefly arrested in the northern city of Culiacan in 2019 but released on the orders of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to avoid bloodshed when his cartel struck back.
He was captured in January after an intense firefight in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa.
Two Mexican officials familiar with the matter also confirmed Mr Guzman’s extradition.
Mexican media including news network Milenio reported that Mr Guzman had been taken out of a maximum security prison in central Mexico to be flown across the border.
The US government asked for Mr Guzman’s extradition in February so he could face drugs charges in a US court.
According to court documents, Mr Guzman and his brothers allegedly controlled extensive international operations in the fentanyl trade, reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in profits by “flooding” the US with the deadly opioid.
In 2021, the State Department offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Mr Guzman’s arrest or conviction.
His father, “El Chapo” Guzman rose to prominence at the helm of the Sinaloa Cartel. He was extradited to the US in 2017 after twice escaping from prison in Mexico. He is now at a high-security “Supermax” prison in Colorado.
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