(CNN) — Ovidio Guzmán López is the son of jailed drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and his second wife, Griselda López. He is believed to have a significant role in the Sinaloa cartel, according to the US Treasury Department.
This January 5, Guzmán López, known as “El Ratón” or “Ratón Nuevo”, was captured in an operation in Sinaloa, as confirmed by the Mexican authorities.
In February 2019, Ovidio Guzmán López was charged by the United States Department of Justice with conspiracy to distribute drugs to be imported into the US, along with his 34-year-old brother Joaquín Guzmán López.
Prosecutors said that from April 2008 to April 2018, the brothers conspired to distribute cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine from Mexico and elsewhere for importation into the United States.
In 2019, the Government of Mexico carried out a failed operation in Culiacán in which it tried to capture and later released Ovidio Guzmán López.
A bloody and protracted shootout between Mexican security forces and suspected cartel members in Sinaloa state was an attempt to capture a jailed son of the drug lord for extradition to the United States, but the operation failed.
Troops temporarily detained Ovidio Guzmán López during the operation in the city of Culiacán, authorities said. But as the battle dragged on, he was released and the operation was called off to save lives, the country’s defense secretary and security minister said at the time. Seven people were killed: five “aggressors”, a member of the Mexican National Guard and a civilian, Durazo said.
López Obrador acknowledged the following day that the operation was suspended “to protect people’s lives.”
The United States Department of State announced in 2021 that it is offering a reward of up to US$5 million for information that could lead to the arrest and/or conviction of four of the sons of former Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán: Ovidio Guzmán López, Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar, Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar and Joaquín Guzmán López.
“All four are high-ranking members of the Sinaloa cartel and each is subject to federal indictment for their involvement in illicit drug trafficking,” the State Department said at the time.
In July 2019, his father, who was the leader of the powerful Sinaloa cartel, was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years in the United States.
Guzmán was convicted in February on 10 federal charges, including murder conspiracies, running a continuing criminal enterprise and other drug-related charges.
Deemed the “world’s most powerful drug trafficker” by the Treasury Department, his criminal enterprise spanned continents and caused bloodshed throughout Mexico.
The US authorities say that after the arrest of Chapo Guzmán “there is a legacy of ‘chapitos’, who have risen positions in the Sinaloa cartel but other cartels have also become empowered. This is the case of the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel,” says Ray Donovan, a DEA special agent who led the 22-agency effort that led to Guzman’s capture.
In 2015, Guzmán Loera made a dramatic escape from jail in Mexico, riding a motorcycle through a tunnel that had been dug into his cell at the Altiplano maximum-security federal prison.
Natalie Gallón reported from Mexico City, Leyla Santiago reported from Washington DC, Maria Santana reported from New York, Helena DeMoura reported from Atlanta, and Helen Regan wrote from Hong Kong.