A bungled operation to arrest Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s son was pushed for by Washington officials in a bid to shut down his alleged fentanyl trafficking that is raving communities across the United States, Mexican officials said Friday.
A single-count indictment that was unsealed by a United States federal court in February charged Ovidio Guzmán López with shipping cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.
However, there was no mention in that indictment of the synthetic opioid that has killed thousands in the U.S. from drug overdoses.
A recent report by the Center for Disease Control found that in 2017, fentanyl caused 27,299 overdose deaths, compared with 18,335 deaths in 2016.
Ovidio Guzmán López (pictured), the son of Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, turns himself in during an operation earlier this month in Mexico. The United States seeks his extradition because it wants to shut down his alleged fentanyl trafficking system
Mexican Public Safety Secretary Alfonso Durazo said the United States Justice Department is pressing his government to arrest and extradite Ovidio Guzmán López
‘Well, one of the reasons for American interest and the support of the extradition order is precisely the alleged link between this alleged criminal and the introduction of fentanyl to the United States,’ Mexican Public Safety Secretary Alfonso Durazo said during the president’s daily press briefing.
The Mexican government, Durazo added, has been working with a various countries and law enforcement agencies to get a handle on the country’s growing role in the international fentanyl trade.
Chaos reigned throughout the streets of Culiacán the afternoon of October 17 when the Mexican military led an operation spurred by the U.S. extradition request of Guzmán López.
The Sinaloa Cartel responded with intense gun fire that left 13 people dead before the Mexican government relented and released Guzmán López in exchange of a seize fire.
Video footage showed Guzmán López shown surrounded by soldiers with one telling him to call his brother, Iván Archivaldo Guzmán, the leader of ‘Los Chapitos’ wing of the Sinaloa Cartel, and tell him to stop the gun battle he launched in response to his brother’s house being surrounded.
Paramedics treat a Massachusetts man who allegedly overdosed on fentanyl in June
Ovidio Guzmán López (left), along with his brothers, is believed to be a leader in the Sinola Cartel ran by his father, Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, (right), before he was jailed in the U.S.
A Mexican soldier records the moment Guzmán instructs his brother Archivaldo to stop attacking security forces
During a Wednesday press conference, Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval characterized Guzmán López as ‘among the main (people) who move drugs to the United States in the area of methamphetamines and fentanyl.’
Two covert fentanyl labs have been found in the Culiacán area this year, one in April and most recently another one in August.
Fentanyl was introduced in 1960 by Belgian doctor and approved for medical use in the United States in 1968. It is used as a pain medication and combined with other medications for anesthesia.
It happens to be 100 times more stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin.
But drug cartels employ fentanyl as a recreational drug that at times is mixed with heroin and cocaine.
Fentanyl Fentanyl was introduced in 1960 by Belgian doctor and approved for medical use in the United States in 1968. It is used as a pain medication and combined with other medications for anesthesia
Cresencio Sandoval said a kilo of fentanyl fetches as much as $400,000 in the United States and that consuming just two milligrams could kill a drug user.
Without specifying any time frames, Cresencio Sandoval said Mexican authorities have seize 142 kilos of fentanyl.
Much of U.S. fentanyl originates in China, but is pressed into pills in Mexico and smuggled into the U.S. The relatively recent appearance of labs suggests the cartels are importing precursor chemicals and then producing the fentanyl themselves.
Northwestern Mexico was turned into a war zone as a result of a gun battle between armed cartel members and Mexican law enforcement
A burnt vehicle sat across the street from a soccer stadium in Culiacán, Mexico, a day after armed gunmen waged an all-out assault against the Mexican military
A video captures the moment cartel members took to the streets with machine guns and grenade launchers in an attempt to stop the arrest of El Chapo’s son
In September, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration traveled with federal, state and local law enforcement officials from Alabama on a ‘covert’ fact-finding trip to Culiacán. A statement released by the DEA days later noted ‘the profit margins for fentanyl and methamphetamine are driving the drug trade by the cartels.’
On Friday, Mexico’s Navy Secretary José Rafael Ojeda, confirmed that the Navy had flown the Americans to Culiacán aboard one of its helicopters. But while he acknowledged that fentanyl often comes to Mexico from China, he said Mexico had not seen a direct tie between China and the cartel.
Asked whether Mexican authorities knew where Guzmán López was now, Durazo said only that intelligence work continued.