Mexican judge suspends arrest warrant and stops Ovidio Guzmán’s extradition to the US

In his extradition trial, the son of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán assured that he was not the person that the United States authorities are looking for

Ovidio Guzmán López, alias El Ratón, obtained a definitive suspension against the arrest warrant issued by a federal judge in Mexico. In this way, the member of the Sinaloa Cartel was “shielded” for crimes that did not merit official pre-trial detention in the country.

Everardo Maya Arias, head of the Third District Court for Amparo and Federal Trials in the State of Mexico, granted the definitive suspension to Ovidio Guzmán, who headed the “Los Chapitos” faction along with his brothers.

A control judge of the Federal Criminal Justice Center of Sonora had issued the arrest warrant against Guzmán López. However, the crimes for which he is accused were not disclosed.

Thus, this arrest warrant – which had not yet been executed by the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) – was suspended. However, it should be recalled that US authorities are seeking Ovidio Guzmán’s extradition due to his involvement in drug trafficking.

The US authorities seek to extradite Ovidio Guzmán due to his alleged responsibility for drug trafficking (Photo: Infobae México)
The US authorities seek to extradite Ovidio Guzmán due to his alleged responsibility for drug trafficking (Photo: Infobae México)

Ovidio Guzmán extradition trial

On March 7, the extradition trial against El Ratón began, following the request presented by the U.S. Department of Justice to Mexico. El Chapo’s son will be tried in the Northern District of Illinois and the Southern District of New York for various crimes, including criminal association to traffic drugs into the neighboring country.

The hearing lasted about five hours and was held via videoconference from the Federal Criminal Justice Center in Almoloya de Juárez, in the State of Mexico, where the 32-year-old drug trafficker is being held.

The most relevant part of the hearing was the words that Ovidio Guzmán pronounced before a control judge, as he assured that he was not the individual the US authorities were looking for. “I am not the person that they believe that the United States is claiming today,” he said.

Guzmán López faces a total of 11 charges. Among these charges are money laundering and drug trafficking, specifically the trafficking of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. The activities were allegedly carried out under a faction of the Sinaloa Cartel: “Los Chapitos“, also known as “Los Menores”.

Despite this, El Raton has the possibility of filing an injunction against his extradition and thus avoid being handed over to authorities in the neighboring country to the north, where he could have the same fate as his father, who was sentenced to life imprisonment and is currently in the maximum security prison of ADX Florence, in Colorado.

Ovidio Guzmán was captured in the Jesus Maria union, in Culiacán (Photo: REUTERS / Stringer)
Ovidio Guzmán was captured in the Jesus Maria Union in Culiacán (Photo: REUTERS / Stringer)

Capture of Ovidio Guzmán

The operation that led to the capture of Guzmán López -carried out in the Jesús María syndicate in Culiacán- left seven soldiers dead and another nine wounded. The Sinaloa drug lord’s bodyguards used 50 caliber machine guns in their attempt to shoot down a helicopter belonging to the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena).

According to reports from the head of the Sedena, Luis Cresencio Sandoval, 19 members of the Sinaloa Cartel were reported killed in the actions of January 6, when they tried to prevent the arrest of El Raton. In addition, more than 20 armed individuals were arrested.

In the building where the detainee was sheltering – which was damaged by multiple bullet wounds – the authorities found more than a ton of marijuana, and 13 vehicles were seized. That same day, Ovidio Guzmán was transferred to Mexico City and later to the State of Mexico, where he was being held.