- Chilean courts endorse extradition of alleged Sinaloa Cartel operative, Morris O’Shea Salazar.
- Salazar stands accused of attempting to establish a drug trafficking route from Chile to Europe.
- The accused has familial ties to notorious cartel leaders, intensifying the case’s international significance.
In a significant development, the Chilean justice system has granted an extradition request for Morris O’Shea Salazar. Salazar, believed to be a member of the Sinaloa Cartel, resides in Mexico and is implicated by authorities in an alleged attempt to establish a branch of the criminal organization in northern Chile.
Salazar’s extradition was approved by the Court of Appeals of Iquique, a city and seaport in northern Chile. The request was made by the Tarapacá Prosecutor’s Office. Salazar is accused of attempting to set up a drug trafficking operation in the Tarapacá region in 2020 with the aim of exporting drugs from Chile to Europe.
Investigations conducted by the Tarapaca Prosecutor’s Office and the Iquique Anti-Narcotics Brigade suggest that the Sinaloa Cartel cell was seeking to create a “line of exit” for drugs sourced from Bolivia. The group, known to operate in various countries across the region and in Europe, has managed to infiltrate the South American country.
According to reports cited by local news outlet 24 Horas, the drugs would be dispatched to Belgium, Holland, and Spain. It was underlined that Salazar is a close relative of siblings Ricardo Salazar Tarriba and Yolanda Salazar, both of whom were arrested in 2021 on charges of illicit drug trafficking and unlawful association.
The siblings are alleged by Chilean authorities to have coordinated the purchase, receipt, and shipment of drugs. They reportedly managed to acquire 61 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride intended for delivery to Europe as a sample for prospective buyers.
Ricardo and Yolanda were apprehended in March 2021 as they were preparing to leave the country. However, Morris, Yolanda’s son, managed to elude arrest at that time. Despite the efforts of the Chilean Prosecutor’s Office in conjunction with the Spanish Civil Guard, they were unable to apprehend Morris, who was residing in Spain at the time.
Consequently, the Tarapacá Prosecutor’s Office formalized the extradition request for Morris O’Shea Salazar. According to the findings of the Chilean authorities’ investigations, he is currently in the state of Sinaloa.
Chilean prosecutor’s office assures that they are Chapo’s relatives
In 2022, the Chilean Prosecutor’s Office verified that Ricardo and Yolanda Salazar Tarriba are kin of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, established through their connection with the ex-cartel leader’s first wife, Maria Alejandrina Salazar Hernandez.
“They are related to the Sinaloa Cartel, who are close relatives of Chapo Guzman,” national prosecutor Jorge Abbott disclosed to the press. The Prosecutor’s Office stated that these individuals, purportedly blood relatives of Ivan Archivaldo and Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar, were in judicial proceedings.
The Salazar Tarriba siblings were reportedly infiltrated by the Chilean Civil Police based on intelligence provided by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). They were led to believe that they would assist in shipping millions of dollars worth of drugs to Holland, where the international crime syndicate maintains connections.
“Chile is no longer a drug transit country; in fact, well-known Mexican cartels are trying to settle in Chile,” commented the prosecutor during the presentation of the latest report from the Observatory of Drug Trafficking of the South American country.
The prosecutor added that the Chilean authorities have “to admit that we have started the path of those territories that host local production of illicit substances and the installation of cartels within their borders.”