Drug lord, trafficker, killer of wedding singers: How the ‘New Mouse’ followed in the bloody footsteps of his father El Chapo

Ovidio Guzman’s arrest was hailed as a major blow to Mexico’s all-powerful Sinaloa Cartel. The son of the notorious El Chapo may now face extradition to the US, writes Bevan Hurley

Tuesday 10 January 2023 22:38 GMT
<p>Ovidio ‘El Raton’ Guzman helped take over the drug cartel run by his father ‘El Chapo’ </p>

Ovidio ‘El Raton’ Guzman helped take over the drug cartel run by his father ‘El Chapo’

Security forces in Mexico arrested the son of jailed drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman during a pre-dawn raid on a remote Sinaloan village on Thursday, Mexican authorities say.

Ovidio “El Raton” Guzman, 32, was taken into custody after a gunfight between federal authorities and Sinaloa Cartel in Jesus Maria, the Mexican defence secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval confirmed at a press conference on Thursday.

According to US authorities, Guzman is a major manufacturer and trafficker of fentanyl and methamphetamine imported across the border.

His arrest set off a night of terror in the Sinaloan state capital Culiacan as cartel members hijacked trucks and set them alight, blocking major exits to the city.

Guzman’s arrest was hailed as a major blow by Mexican authorities against the cartels by Mr Sandoval.

The narco-traffickers’ bloody war with the government has claimed tens of thousands of lives each year since 2006.

Who is Ovidio ‘El Raton’ Guzman?

Ovidio Guzman-Lopez is one of four children born to Joaquin Guzman and his second wife Griselda Guadalupe Lopez and was born in 1990 in the town of Badiraguato.

When his older brother Edgar Guzmán-López was shot dead in 2008, Ovidio and his brother Joaquín Guzmán-López inherited a stake in their father’s global narco-trafficking empire, according to the US State Department.

Ovidio Guzman, El Chapo’s son, pictured during his previous arrest in Sinaloa, Mexico, in 2019

El Chapo was during that period the most wanted drug kingpin in the world, running his cartel from the mountainous western Mexico state of Sinaloa while always remaining one step ahead of authorities.

The two Guzman brothers began purchasing large amounts of marijuana in Mexico and cocaine in Colombia, the US State Department claims.

They expanded their operation to purchasing large amounts of ephedrine, a precursor to meth, from Argentina and smuggling it into Mexico.

In 2012, the US Treasury Department designated him and another brother, Iván, as key lieutenants in the Sinaloa cartel. 

After his father’s arrest and extradition to the United States in 2017, Guzman assumed the leadership off the Sinaloa Cartel along with three of his brothers, according to the US State Department.

Ovidio Guzman Lopez is wanted for drug trafficking in the United States

The Guzmán-López brothers oversee 11 drug labs in the state of Sinaloa that produce an 3,000 to 5,000 pounds of pure methamphetamine each month. 

The methamphetamine is sold wholesale to distributors in the United States and Canada.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a $5m reward for information leading to his arrest after he was indicted on drug trafficking charges by a US grand jury in 2018.

The State Department says that Ovidio Guzman has also ordered the murders of informants, a drug trafficker, and a “popular Mexican singer who had refused to sing at his wedding”.

Ovidio Guzman and wife Adriana Meza Torres

It’s unknown how many siblings he has, although reports indicate El Chapo has had at least 15 offspring with his four wives and numerous girlfriends.

The Associated Press noted that Ovidio Guzman sits below his elder brothers Iván Archivaldo Guzmán and Jesús Alfredo Guzmán, who are collectively known as “Los Chapitos,” or “the little Chapos,” in the Sinaloa Cartel’s hierarchy.

The elder Guzmans are thought to run their father’s cartel along with Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

Ovidio is said to have been given his nicknames “El Raton” and “El Nuevo Raton” (The New Mouse), when he was at school.

His is married to Adriana Meza Torres, who is nicknamed “Queen of the Sinaloa Cartel”.

El Chapo is currently serving a life sentence at the supermax ADX Florence prison in Colorado for murder, money laundering, drug trafficking, racketeering and organised crime.

Arrest sparks wave of violence that leaves 29 dead

At around 2.30am on Thursday (5 December), Mexican special forces soldiers mounted a major operation in the village of Jesus Maria, about 50kms north of the Sinaloa state capital of Culiacan.

Video posted to Twitter by Mexico City’s Radio Formula showed officers firing with automatic weapons onto a house in the village.

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