DOJ charges four of notorious druglord El Chapo's sons

DOJ charges four of notorious drug lord El Chapo’s sons and 25 other Sinaloa Cartel members over flooding US cities with fentanyl after smugglers dodged authorities by aircraft, submarine and vast network of border tunnels

  • Agents infiltrated the deadly gang at its ‘highest levels’ to disrupt its operations
  • The group allegedly includes four sons of Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka El Chapo
  • Charges claim their US drug trafficking was aided by Chinese pharmaceuticals

El Chapo’s sons have been charged with running a prolific fentanyl trafficking operation that has ‘devastated’ US families, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Agents infiltrated the deadly Sinaloa Cartel at its ‘highest levels’ to disrupt the production of the drug, which has become the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 49.

The gang allegedly includes the sons of Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka El Chapo. 

The ‘Chapitos’, Ivan Guzman Salazar, 40, Alfredo Guzman Salazar, 37, Joaquin Guzman Lopez, 36, and Ovidio Guzman Lopez, 33, now face various narcotics, money laundering and firearms charges.

None are currently in US custody, with only Ovidio Guzman in a Mexican jail. 

The cartel has transported lethal amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and fentanyl into the US for more than half a decade, aided by Chinese pharmaceutical companies, authorities claim.

Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar, 40, (left) and Alfredo Guzman Salazar, 37, (right), two of the four sons of notorious Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka El Chapo. The ‘Chapitos’ have been charged with running a prolific fentanyl trafficking operation

Ovidio Guzman Lopez, 33, (left) and Joaquín Guzmán López, 36, are the two other sons of El Chapo to have been charged by US authorities

Attorney General Merrick Garland said it was ‘the largest, most violent, and most prolific fentanyl trafficking operation in the world’.

He added: ‘Families and communities across our country are being devastated by the fentanyl epidemic. Today’s actions demonstrate the comprehensive approach the Justice Department is taking to disrupt fentanyl trafficking and save American lives.’

The unsealed charges claim the cartel is largely responsible for the manufacturing and importing of fentanyl for distribution in the US.

The gang obtained chemicals – largely from China – for the manufacture of synthetic drugs in Mexico before moving them to the US to launder the proceeds of drug trafficking, the charges say.

The Chapitos allegedly used aircraft, submarines, container ships, fishing vessels, and an array of other transportation methods to transport their drugs and precursor chemicals.

They allegedly maintained a network of couriers, tunnels, and stash houses throughout Mexico and the US.

Fentanyl is a dangerous synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin.

It has fueled the opioid epidemic that has been ravaging families and communities across the United States for almost a decade.

Between 2019 and 2021, fatal overdoses increased by approximately 94 percent, with an estimated 196 Americans dying each day from fentanyl.

Attorney General Lisa Monaco said the charges against the cartel showed the Government ‘is now waging a relentless campaign to disrupt the production and trafficking of fentanyl’.

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, center, is escorted from a plane by the DEA in 2017. The notorious Mexican drug lord was convicted of drug-trafficking charges in New York in 2019

She added: ‘Today’s indictments target every element of the Sinaloa Cartel’s trafficking network and reflect the Justice Department’s commitment to attacking every aspect of this threat: from the chemical companies in China that spawn fentanyl precursors, to the illicit labs that produce the poison, to the networks and money launderers and murderers that facilitate its distribution.’

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said The Chapitos ‘pioneered’ the manufacture and trafficking of fentanyl and ‘flooded it into the US’.

Fentanyl trafficking, weapons, and money laundering charges were unsealed in the Southern District of New York against 28 defendants, including three of the Chapitos: Ivan Guzman Salazar, Alfredo Guzman Salazar and Ovidio Guzman Lopez.

Narcotics, money laundering, and firearms charges were unsealed in the Northern District of Illinois against all four of the Chapitos.

The US Department of State is offering rewards of up to $10million for information leading to the arrest and / or conviction of the Chapitos.

Ovidio Guzman was captured by the Mexican army in January, sparking wild scenes in Sinaola.

His arrest came three years after the Mexican army detained Guzmán but then released him after Sinaloa cartel gunmen seized control of much of the city.

Gunfire and car-jackings were reported in the city as word spread of Ovidio’s arrest.

In January, a judge ordered him to stay in 60 days of preventive detention for the purpose of extradition after a hearing at the Altiplano maximum security federal prison where he is being held.

The Mexican government urged residents to stay home as burning vehicles, shootings and blockades ravaged the city of Sinaloa following Ovidio’s arrest in January

Vehicles were set ablaze after news spread of his arrest, with videos uploaded to twitter by local media and residents of the city

It is the same prison where El Chapo escaped from through a tunnel in 2015. 

In March, Ovidio bizarrely claimed before a Mexico judge that he is not the son of El Chapo.

The shocking revelation was made during a video conference hearing Tuesday to block the 32-year-old’s extradition to the US.

‘I am not the person they think, who the US claims,’ Ovidio told judge Rogelio Díaz during the five-hour session at the Altiplano.

During a 2016 interview with renown Mexican criminologist Mónica Ramírez Cano, El Chapo confessed to having been the father of 23 children.

He married four times, first in 1977 to Alejandrina María Salazar Hernández, with whom he had four children, including César, Iván Archivaldo, Jesús Alfredo and Alejandrina Giselle. He would then tie the knot with bank clerk, Estela Peña, but did not have any children with her.

El Chapo’s third marriage came in the mid-1980s when he married Griselda López Pérez, the mother of Édgar, Joaquín Jr., Ovidio and Griselda Guadalupe.

His fourth and last marriage came in 2007 when he exchanged wedding vows former beauty queen Emma Coronel, who in August 2011 gave birth to the couple’s twin daughters, Maria Joaquina and Emali Guadalupe.

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