Ovidio Guzman Granted Protection Against New Arrest Warrants

Stay up to date on the legal battle of Ovidio Guzmán López, the son of notorious drug lord "El Chapo", as he fights against extradition to the US on international drug trafficking charges.

Ovidio Guzman Granted Protection Against New Arrest Warrants
Ovidio Guzman, at the time of a previous capture, known as 'El Culiacanazo', in 2019. Photo: Archive file by agencies

Ovidio Guzmán López, also known as El Ratón, has been granted a definitive suspension that prevents the execution of any arrest warrant for non-detainable crimes. The Third District Court in Amparo Matters and Federal Trials in the State of Mexico granted this precautionary measure against an arrest warrant issued by the Attorney General's Office (FGR), which alleges that Joaquín Guzmán Loera's son is responsible for organized crime, arms trafficking, and weapons manufacturing.

Recently, a control judge of the Federal Criminal Justice Center issued a new arrest warrant against Ovidio Guzmán López, prompting his defense to request protection from federal justice against warrants obtained without specifying the crimes he would be accused of.

Currently incarcerated in the Federal Center for Social Readaptation Number 1, Altiplano, located in Almoloya de Juárez, State of Mexico, Ovidio Guzmán López is facing an extradition trial at the request of US authorities for criminal association related to drug distribution.

In light of this situation, the head of the Fifth District Court in matters of Amparo and Federal Trials has ratified the formalization of the international extradition request made by the US government to try Ovidio Guzmán López in a District Court of Columbia for crimes of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana.

Ovidio Guzmán arrested in an early morning operation in Sinaloa, Mexico

The Secretary of National Defense confirmed that in the early morning hours of January 5, members of the National Army and the National Guard detained Ovidio Guzmán. It all happened in the community of Jesús María, in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa.

Authorities say that after six months of gathering information and keeping an eye on things, the National Guard was doing a reconnaissance operation in the community of Jesus Maria, where the crime was known to be happening.

Shortly before 5:00 a.m., the National Guard detected a caravan of armored cars and stopped them for inspection. They asked the people to get out, and when they were already down, they started shooting with high-caliber weapons. When they stopped the attack and got help from the Army's Ninth Military Zone in Sinaloa, they found Ovidio Guzmán in one of the cars and arrested him right away.

When he was detained, he was quickly transferred to the Special Prosecutor's Office for Organized Crime to be handed over to the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office. For obvious security reasons, the secretary didn't tell us where Ovidio was. However, some news outlets have confirmed that he was moved to Mexico City and is or was in Military Camp 1 while he waits to be moved to a maximum-security prison.

Blockades and attacks paralyze Culiacán following the arrest of Ovidio Guzmán

Shortly after Ovidio was arrested, members of the Los Chapitos or Los Menores group blocked roads and attacked, mostly at the Culiacan International Airport and Military Air Base 10. The Secretary of National Defense confirmed that at least 19 blockades shut down Culiacán. These blockades were at the entrances to the city, to Los Mochis, and at the exit of the highway to Costa Rica in Culiacán.

An Aeromexico and a Mexican Air Force plane were attacked in Culiacan after the recapture of Ovidio Guzman.

Through a video posted on social networks, the Secretary of Security of Sinaloa, Cristóbal Castañeda, reported nine blockades in Culiacán, three in Mochis, and six in the southern zone. This takes place shortly after noon. The attacks in the city of Culiacán continue; there is no activity; there are no businesses; and vehicles continue to be burned.

Dozens of vehicles with armed people on the streets of Culiacán this afternoon. After the arrest of Ovidio Guzmán, the repercussions are still being felt in at least three states, including Sonora.
Culiacán is literally under siege. There is not a soul on the street and the narcos are on the prowl. The malandros are looting. And the cops, not a peep out of them.
This is how they shot down a plane in Culiacán in the operation against Ovidio Guzmán.

Who is Ovidio Guzman: the son of "El Chapo"?

Heir to a faction of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, Ovidio Guzman Lopez learned about the drug trafficking business from his father, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera. Known by the aliases "El Ratón" and "Ratón Nuevo," the 32-year-old is accused of being involved in the criminal empire left by Guzmán Loera, who is serving a life sentence in a Colorado prison.

This Thursday, Ovidio Guzmán was arrested again in Culiacán. This happened during a wave of blockades that reminded people of the disastrous capture in 2019 when he was found and then let go by Mexican forces in the same city. At the time, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador tried to explain this decision by saying he wanted to keep people from dying.

The new alleged arrest came in the face of similar chaos. Culiacán was paralyzed on Thursday, and authorities pleaded with residents not to leave their homes due to clashes, blockades, and burning vehicles.

Ovidio Guzman Lopez, the youngest of the dynasty, took his first steps into organized crime at the age of 18, following the murder of his older brother Edgar, who was gunned down in a fierce shootout in the parking lot of a Culiacan shopping mall in 2008, according to the State Department.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has had him in its sights since April 2018, when he was charged in federal court in Washington, DC, with smuggling illicit substances. The United States claims that Ovidio Guzmán and his brother Joaquín Guzmán López are part of the group that currently controls the Sinaloa Cartel, with tentacles that reach as far as buying cocaine in Colombia.

Ovidio Guzmán charged with drug smuggling by US government

Backed by his brother Joaquín Guzmán López, 34, nicknamed "El Güero" and "Moreno," Ovidio was in charge of importing large shipments of cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana into the United States, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). His brother remains at large.

Both are named in an indictment alleging that from April 2008 to the present they have been behind the importation of narcotics from Mexico and elsewhere for distribution in the United States. In late February 2019, the U.S. government announced that it had charged them with drug smuggling.

Court documents indicate that they shipped at least 5 kilos of cocaine, 500 grams of methamphetamine, and a ton of marijuana to this country. Little has been revealed about their criminal proceedings since a court order sealed them in April. This is a usual procedure in cases involving high-profile drug traffickers.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Agents led this case with the collaboration of the so-called Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), which brings together experienced federal, state, and local officials. It is the same agency that participated in the last capture of "El Chapo" in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, in January 2016.

In 2012, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury Department added Ovidio Guzmán López to its list of people with ties to international organized crime. This meant that his assets in the U.S. were frozen.

Sons of 'El Chapo' named as leaders of Sinaloa Cartel by US government

"Ovidio Guzmán López also plays an important role in his father's drug trafficking activities," the agency said at the time. At the time, his father was the most wanted criminal in the world.

But other sons of the former Sinaloa Cartel boss are a priority for the US government: Jesus Alfredo and Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar. They are believed to be in charge of a cell of that criminal organization and have the backing of drug lord Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, who currently holds the group's reins. They are known as "Los Plebes" and "Los Chapitos."

"The sons of the defendant (Guzmán Loera) continue to be in charge of his vast drug trafficking empire," the U.S. Attorney's Office warned about these brothers in court documents filed in the trial against "El Chapo".

Jesus Alfredo is one of the 10 most wanted drug traffickers by the DEA, and his criminal case was submitted in 2009 to a federal court in Chicago, Illinois. While Ivan Archivaldo faces a criminal indictment filed in 2015 in a federal court in San Diego, California.

In May 2012, an OFAC organizational chart listed Ovidio and his half-brother Ivan Archivaldo as "key lieutenants" of the Sinaloa Cartel. At the time, Ovidio was just 22 years old.