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Son of drug lord 'El Chapo' pleads not guilty in US court

September 19, 2023

Ovidio Guzman Lopez was recently extradited to the US by the Mexican government. Charges against him include drug trafficking and money laundering.

Ovidio Guzman in a file photo from 2019
Ovidio Guzman Lopez could be facing life in prison, like his father (file photo, 2019)Image: Mexican Government TV via REUTERS

The son of notorious Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has pleaded not guilty in front of a United States court on Monday.

Ovidio Guzman Lopez made his first appearance at a federal court in Chicago, where he is charged with "conspiring to distribute cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana from Mexico and elsewhere for importation into the United States," according to a statement from the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

How did Guzman Lopez end up in a US court?

The DOJ says Guzman Lopez, also nicknamed "El Raton" (the mouse), was a "leader in one of the most prolific and violent drug trafficking organizations in the world."

Authorities allege the 33-year old took over control of the Sinaloa Cartel together with his brothers after the arrest of their father in 2019.

Guzman Lopez was arrested in January in the Mexican city of Culiacan, the capital of the state of Sinaloa, following deadly clashes between the military and cartel members. He was extradited to the United States on September 15.

Mexico arrests son of drug kingpin 'El Chapo'

US will not seek death penalty for Guzman

The extradition is seen as a major success in the Biden administration's fight against the opioid epidemic, as Guzman Lopez is also facing charges of fentanyl trafficking in a New York court.

Guzman Lopez will be held without bail until his trial. His next court date is scheduled for November.

The US has assured Mexico it will not pursue the death penalty against him, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Guzman Lopez's father, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, is serving a life sentence in a maximum-security prison in the US state of Colorado.

fg/jsi (AFP, Reuters)

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