Son of drug kingpin El Chapo pleads not guilty to US trafficking charges

Ovidio Guzman was extradited from Mexico on Friday and faces multiple charges over the alleged trafficking of drugs, including fentanyl.

An armed police officer walks past the mansion where Ovidio Guzman was arrested in January
Ovidio Guzman was arrested in January in Culiacan in northern Sinaloa state [File: Juan Carlos Cruz/AFP]

Ovidio Guzman, one of the sons of jailed Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, better known as El Chapo, has pleaded not guilty in a court in the United States to multiple charges, including drug trafficking and money laundering.

Guzman, one of El Chapo’s four sons, appeared in court in Chicago on Monday, a few days after his extradition from Mexico.

During a brief hearing under tight security, Guzman, wearing an orange jumpsuit with his ankles shackled, listened to the proceedings through a Spanish interpreter, according to the Chicago Tribune.

He entered a not-guilty plea to multiple drug trafficking, money laundering and firearms charges, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Known by the alias El Raton or The Mouse, he is accused of conspiring to ship cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the US.

His father, El Chapo, was extradited from Mexico to the US in 2017 and convicted two years later. He is now serving a life sentence for drug trafficking and murder in a maximum-security prison.

The US has said El Chapo’s four sons, together known as The Chapitos or The Little Chapos, inherited control of his Sinaloa Cartel after his conviction.

Three of the 66-year-old’s other sons have also been indicted in the US.

Ovidio Guzman was captured in the city of Culiacan in northern Sinaloa on January 5.

Following his arrest, cartel members set vehicles on fire and created mayhem, an echo of the massive shootouts in 2019 when the younger Guzman was arrested but quickly freed to avoid bloodshed.

Two of the six counts Guzman faces in the US carry a mandatory life sentence, prosecutors said, according to the Chicago Tribune. The US agreed not to pursue the death penalty as part of its extradition negotiation with Mexico, the daily said.

Guzman will be held in custody until his trial and is next due in court in November.

Source: News Agencies