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Son of El Chapo, Ovidio Guzman, pleads not guilty to US trafficking charges

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Ovidio Guzman, one of the offspring of the incarcerated Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, entered a plea of not guilty to a series of charges, including drug trafficking and money laundering, during a court appearance in Chicago. This development comes shortly after his extradition from Mexico.

The courtroom was heavily secured as Guzman, dressed in an orange jumpsuit and shackled at the ankles, followed the proceedings with the assistance of a Spanish interpreter, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. The Department of Justice confirmed his plea of not guilty to multiple charges involving drug trafficking, money laundering, and firearms offenses.

Referred to by the alias “El Raton” or “The Mouse,” Ovidio Guzman stands accused of conspiring to smuggle cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana into the United States. His father, El Chapo, was extradited to the US from Mexico in 2017 and subsequently convicted, currently serving a life sentence for drug trafficking and murder in a high-security prison.

Following El Chapo’s conviction, the US authorities have asserted that his four sons, collectively known as “The Chapitos” or “The Little Chapos,” assumed control of the Sinaloa Cartel. Additionally, three other sons of the 66-year-old drug kingpin have faced indictments in the United States.

Ovidio Guzman’s capture in Culiacan, located in northern Sinaloa, took place on January 5. His apprehension prompted a wave of violence, with cartel members setting vehicles ablaze and causing chaos, reminiscent of the intense shootouts in 2019 when Guzman was initially detained but subsequently released to prevent further bloodshed.

Prosecutors have revealed that two of the charges against Guzman carry a mandatory life sentence, while the United States agreed not to seek the death penalty as part of the extradition negotiations with Mexico, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. Guzman will remain in custody until his trial, with his next court appearance scheduled for November.

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