Friday, December 1, 2023

Ovidio Guzmán denies he’s the son of ‘El Chapo’

Ovidio Guzmán – an alleged Sinaloa Cartel leader arrested in January — claimed on Tuesday that he is not the son of imprisoned drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera.

The presumed leader of the “Los Chapitos” faction of the cartel made the surprising claim at a court hearing at which he was formally notified of the United States request for his extradition.

Guzmán is wanted in the U.S. on a total of 11 drug trafficking, firearm possession and money laundering charges and could be imprisoned for life if convicted.

Appearing at the hearing via video link from the Altiplano maximum-security prison in México state, the 32-year-old suspect asserted that his arrest was a case of mistaken identity.

“I’m not the person they believe I am, that the United States is asking for,” he said.

Despite that assertion, the suspect identified himself as Ovidio Guzmán López and, in an offhanded remark, acknowledged that “El Chapo” was his father.

A lawyer for Guzmán, Alberto Díaz Mendieta, also told the judge that his client was not the son of Guzmán Loera, who was sentenced to life in prison in the United States in 2019.

Prosecutors countered that he matched the physical description included in the United States’ extradition request.

Díaz also claimed that the extradition request submitted by the United States to Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs didn’t comply with conditions set out in the extradition treaty between the two countries. He said he would file a request for an injunction against his client’s extradition.

Judge Rogelio Díaz Villarreal ruled that Guzmán must remain in prison while the extradition request remains unresolved.

The accused was first arrested in Culiacán in 2019 but released a short time later due to the violent response of Sinaloa Cartel members and fears that a bloodbath could ensue.

His second arrest on the morning of Jan. 5 preceded a day of violent chaos, with 10 soldiers and 19 alleged criminals killed in clashes, according to the Defense Ministry.

With reports from El Economista, Reforma and El Universal 

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