HomeAmericasMexican kingpin Ovidio Guzmán is extradited to the United States in victory...

Mexican kingpin Ovidio Guzmán is extradited to the United States in victory over the fentanyl war

MEXICO CITY, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Ovidio Guzmán, son of jailed Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, was extradited to the United States on Friday to face fentanyl trafficking charges, in a boost to the Biden administration’s initiative to stop the spread of the deadly opioid.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the extradition of Ovidio Guzmán was the latest step in U.S. efforts to target “every aspect” of drug trafficking operations run by the Sinaloa Cartel, long associated with the Guzman family.

“I also thank our counterparts in the Mexican government for this extradition,” Garland said in a statement.

“The Department of Justice will continue to hold accountable those responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic that has devastated too many communities across the country.”

Two Mexican officials familiar with the matter also confirmed the extradition of Guzmán, 33.

One of the heirs Guzmán, linked to his father’s trafficking empire, was briefly arrested in the northern city of Culiacán in 2019, but released on the orders of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to avoid bloodshed when his cartel counterattacked.

He was caught in January after an intense shooting in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa.

Ovidio Guzmán, son of kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, is briefly captured by Mexican military police in a residential complex near the center of Culiacán in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico, on October 17, 2019, in this still image taken with a helmet camera obtained on October 30, 2019. Government of Mexico TV/Handout via REUTERS Acquire license rights

U.S. officials have portrayed Guzmán and several of his brothers as the face of the threat posed by fentanyl, a highly addictive poison that kills nearly 200 Americans daily. That death toll has increased pressure on the Biden administration and caused diplomatic problems. pressures between the United States and Mexico.

The United States government requested Guzmán’s extradition in February so he could face drug charges in a US court.

Extradition proceedings for prominent Mexican drug traffickers can take years. Ovidio Guzmán’s expulsion was even quicker than that of his father, who was flown to the United States just a year after his final arrest in Sinaloa in early 2016.

Several Mexican media outlets, including the Milenio news network, previously reported that Guzmán had been taken from a maximum security prison in central Mexico to cross the border by plane.

According to a US court documentsGuzmán and his brothers allegedly controlled extensive international operations in the fentanyl trade, making hundreds of millions of dollars in profits by “flooding” the United States with the drug.

Their bet on the synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin helped intensify an opioid epidemic that put them in the crosshairs of US anti-narcotics agents.

The State Department has been offering a reward worth millions of dollars for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Ovidio Guzmán and three of his brothers.

His father, “El Chapo” Guzmán, rose to fame at the head of the Sinaloa Cartel. He was extradited to the United States in 2017 after twice escaping from prison in Mexico. Guzmán’s father is now in a high-security “Supermax” lockup in Colorado.

Report by Dave Graham; Additional reporting by Drazen Jorgic in Mexico City, Kanishka Singh in Washington and Dan Whitcomb; Edited by William Mallard

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