A son of the infamous drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has been extradited to the US on drug trafficking charges, the US Attorney General has said.
Ovidio Guzmán is suspected of leading, along with his brother, the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel his father founded.
Ovidio is also accused of having ordered the murder of a singer who had refused to perform at his wedding.
He was arrested in January in the northern Mexico state of Sinaloa and has been in custody ever since.
“This action is the most recent step in the Justice Department’s effort to attack every aspect of the cartel’s operations,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement regarding the extradition.
“The fight against the cartels has involved incredible courage by United States law enforcement and Mexican law enforcement and military service members, many of whom have given their lives in the pursuit of justice.”
Mr Garland also thanked the Mexican government for its assistance in getting Ovidio to the US.
There was no immediate reaction to the extradition by the Mexican authorities.
It comes days after the 33-year-old’s father’s wife, Emma Coronel, was released from jail in the US after being sentenced in November 2021 on drug trafficking charges.
Her husband is serving a life sentence at a supermax jail in Colorado for leading the Sinaloa cartel.
Ovidio Guzmán is one of four children El Chapo had during his relationship with Griselda López in the 1980s and 90s. The oldest of them, Edgar, was killed in a cartel shootout in 2008.
El Chapo also has other children from his previous marriage and from his subsequent relationship with Coronel.
Guzmán, also known as “El Ratón” (The Mouse), was arrested outside the city of Culiacán following a six-month surveillance operation.
Twenty-nine people died in the firefight which ensued and members of his cartel burned buses and cars to block access roads to prevent police reinforcements from reaching the city.
Ovidio was flown to Mexico City in a helicopter for fear that if he was transported by road his hitmen would try to attack the convoy.
In June 2020, the security forces briefly detained him but were ordered by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to release him “so as not to put the population at risk” as Sinaloa gunmen torched buses and engaged in gun battles with police and soldiers.
He had been in hiding for the following 18 months before his re-arrest in January 2023.
The Sinaloa cartel is a transnational criminal organisation that is estimated by US law enforcement officials to have smuggled more than 1,000 tonnes of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines and heroin into the US.
The cartel’s hitmen kidnapped, tortured and killed members of rival gangs to consolidate its power.
Members have also bribed police officers and high-ranking politicians in Mexico and across Central America to turn a blind eye to drug shipments or even tip the cartel off about impending raids.