CHICAGO (WLS) — Ovidio Guzmán López, the 33-year-old son of former Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, pleaded not responsible in a Chicago courtroom Monday to cash laundering, drug trafficking and different expenses in his first court docket look since his extradition to the U.S. from Mexico three days prior.
Showing meek and gentle spoken, Guzmán López, nicknamed “the Mouse,” spoke by way of an English translator for many of the continuing whereas surrounded by eight uniformed U.S. Marshals in U.S. District Choose Sharon Coleman’s courtroom.
Guzmán López’s court docket demeanor stood in stark distinction to what prosecutors say he and his household are answerable for.
Based on court docket filings, Guzmán López and his brothers, collectively often called “the Chapitos,” are accused of assuming their father’s former function as leaders of the Sinaloa cartel in 2019, shortly after El Chapo was sentenced to life in jail within the U.S.
After taking management of the cartel, prosecutors say the Chapitos have been answerable for working a world drug trafficking community, together with fueling the lethal fentanyl disaster nationwide.
Guzmán López and his brothers are alleged to have smuggled huge portions of medicine into the U.S. utilizing plane, submarines, and container ships, in addition to managing networks of couriers, tunnels and stash homes all through Mexico and the US.
The ABC7 Chicago I-Crew reported that the cartel has been answerable for 80% of road medication flooding metro Chicago streets previously three a long time, based on legislation enforcement officers.
Prosecutors additionally allege that Guzmán López and his brothers have carried out stunning acts of violence to guard their fentanyl trafficking operations, together with feeding rival drug traffickers to their pet tigers, lifeless or alive, in addition to different technique of torture together with electrocution and waterboarding.
Heightened safety was current on the Dirksen federal courthouse on Monday in anticipation of Guzmán López’s arraignment, given what passed off when he was taken into custody by Mexican safety forces earlier this 12 months.
When he was arrested this previous January, violence broke out in Culiacan, the capital of the Sinaloa state. Gunfire erupted, killing 30 individuals together with 10 navy personnel, with information experiences indicating Mexico’s military used Black Hawk helicopter gunships in opposition to the cartel’s truck-mounted .50-caliber machine weapons. Many Mexican navy members and civilians have been caught within the crossfire.
No violence occurred this previous Friday when American officers extradited Guzmán López from Mexico to Chicago.
At his arraignment and thru a translator, Guzmán López instructed the decide he suffers from “melancholy, and nervousness” in addition to abdomen ache from a surgical procedure he had the earlier 12 months and takes medicine day by day for.
Guzmán López’s lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, instructed the I-Crew after the listening to that his shopper is doing “okay” given the present circumstances.
“This could impression anyone’s psychological state as a human being, he’s a delicate man,” Lichtman mentioned. “He is quiet and reflective, so this has not been a simple time for him.”
“He is dealing with the remainder of his life in jail, so if that does not give any person nervousness and melancholy,” Lichtman continued.
Lichtman additionally represented Guzmán López’s father El Chapo.
When requested if Guzmán López is contemplating cooperating with the federal government, and serving to brokers observe down his brothers at massive, Lichtman scoffed.
“Is Ovidio going to assist the federal government observe down his brothers? Does anybody else have an clever query?” Lichtman mentioned sarcastically. “No, he isn’t planning on cooperating in opposition to his brothers.”
Guzmán López’s look in Chicago was welcomed by many in native legislation enforcement circles who’re answerable for constructing the case in opposition to his father and the Sinaloa Cartel.
Jack Riley, a former Particular Agent in Cost for Chicago’s DEA discipline workplace, ran the early phases of the federal case in opposition to El Chapo, and mentioned Monday’s arraignment was “an actual vindication.”
“This is a crucial transfer up as a result of this child [Guzmán López] is answerable for shifting the Sinaloa into our present drawback: Fentanyl,” Riley instructed the I-Crew. “He is one in every of 4 children that Chapo has. We acquired one down, and we’re gonna go after the opposite three… This can ship a powerful message to the remaining members of the family that no person is untouchable.”
When El Chapo was extradited to the U.S. in 2017, he was dropped at Brooklyn, New York, the place he was tried and convicted, regardless that many in Chicago legislation enforcement have been disenchanted with the choice to not attempt him in Chicago.
When Guzmán López stood earlier than a Chicago decide on Monday, some in legislation enforcement mentioned they have been happy that the case lastly landed right here.
“I fought very arduous to have the unique Chapo trial prosecuted right here in Chicago, as did the U.S. Legal professional’s workplace,” Riley mentioned. “However politically, we have been overruled. And I feel this reveals the power of our instances, [and] the way in which that we work.”
Guzmán López’s lawyer instructed the I-Crew he’s in additional humane circumstances in U.S. custody than his father, El Chapo.
If Guzmán López is convicted, he faces ten years to life in jail.
In an odd twist, specialists say if convicted, he would seemingly be confined within the Colorado SuperMax jail, the place his father is a lifetime resident.