Ovidio Guzmán, son of El Chapo, extradited to U.S. on fentanyl charges

Ovidio Guzmán, a son of imprisoned former Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, has been extradited to the United States to face federal drug trafficking charges, the Justice Department said Friday.

Prosecutors allege that the younger Guzmán, 33, helped lead what Attorney General Merrick Garland has called “the largest, most violent, and most prolific fentanyl trafficking operation in the world.”

Mexican army and national guard troops captured Guzmán in the Sinaloa city of Culiacán in January in a gun battle with Sinaloa fighters that left at least 29 people dead. He now faces charges of fentanyl trafficking, money laundering and weapons violations.

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Garland on Friday praised the cooperation of U.S. and Mexican authorities and expressed gratitude for those who “have given their lives in the pursuit of justice.”

“This action is the most recent step in the Justice Department’s effort to attack every aspect of the cartel’s operations,” Garland said in a statement issued by the Justice Department on Friday. “The Justice Department will continue to hold accountable those responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic that has devastated too many communities across the country.”

Federal prosecutors allege that the Sinaloa cartel obtained precursor chemicals for synthetic drugs, largely from China, manufactured drugs in Mexico, moved those drugs into the United States, and collected, laundered, and transferred the proceeds.

Fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 49, authorities say. Between 2019 and 2021, fatal overdoses increased by 94 percent. An estimated 196 Americans die per day from fentanyl, according to the Justice Department.

Why is fentanyl so dangerous? Here is what you need to know.

Ovidio Guzmán is one of 28 defendants indicted by grand juries in New York, Chicago and the District of Columbia in the alleged operation. Others include two of his brothers; together, they’re known as the Chapitos.

Joaquín Guzmán, 66, was found guilty by a federal jury in New York in 2019 of drug trafficking, money laundering and weapons charges. He was sentenced to life plus 30 years and is now at the Administrative Maximum U.S. Penitentiary, or Supermax, in Florence, Col.

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