U.S. and Mexico clash over reward for El Chapo's sons
In the absence of action by Mexican authorities, who have not been able to capture 'Los Menores,' the U.S. offered millions for their capture.
After an update of a list from the United States Department of the Treasury, a reward of $5 million appeared for the four children of the convicted Mexican drug trafficker, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. In response, President of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador, did not hide his annoyance and pointed out that the capture of the drug traffickers was a matter for his country.
For the president's opponents, the U.S. announcement could be seen coming, especially after the famous 'Culiacanazo' — an operation carried out in October 2019 to capture one of El Chapo's sons, Ovidio Guzmán. However, "for the safety" of the inhabitants of Culiacán, in Sinaloa, Ovidio had to be released in one of the most embarrassing recent events for the Mexican armed forces.
EU dobló la apuesta y ahora ofrece 5 mdd de recompensa por los 4 hijos de “El Chapo” Guzmán, incluyendo a Ovidio quien hace dos años fue capturado y liberado por órdenes del presidente @LopezObrador_. pic.twitter.com/FNppqARbOo
— Ciro Gómez Leyva (@CiroGomezL) December 16, 2021
The United States Department of State highlighted that the amount offered for the capture of the sons of 'El Chapo' is individual, which means that in total, there is $20 million available to pay for information that leads to the whereabouts and subsequent capture of those indicated.
Ovidio Guzmán López, Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar, Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar and Joaquín Guzmán López, are considered by U.S. authorities as leaders or “high-ranking members” of the Sinaloa Cartel, for which they face the federal accusation of participating in illicit drug trafficking activities.
The announcement against the sons of El Chapo, who was sentenced to life imprisonment plus 30 years, comes a month and a half after the drug leader's current wife, Emma Coronel, was sentenced to serve three years in prison and four years of supervised release .
The four children of El Chapo, who has recognized 10 heirs as a result of his relationship with three different partners, presumably would be some of those who took over the drug business after his capture and subsequent conviction in the U.S.
According to the judicial documents presented during the trial against Guzmán, the criminal's children with Alejandrina Salazar — Iván Archivaldo and Jesús Alfredo “El Alfredillo” — would be the ones who assumed power after the capture of their father. However, other sources indicate that they would follow orders from Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.
While "El Alfredillo" is on the list of the most-wanted drug traffickers by the DEA, Archivaldo had already been arrested in 2005 for money laundering, to later be released three years later for lack of evidence.
For their part, Ovidio and Joaquín — part of the group of younger children and a product of El Chapo's relationship with Griselda López — must take charge for drug trafficking in the United States. Unlike their father's strategic reputation, according to the authorities, the sons have a reputation for being excessively violent and possess few skills to control the business.
According to the U.S. government, Ovidio Guzmán, who is also known by his alias “El Ratón,” backed by his brother Joaquín, was involved in a drug importation when his father was already incarcerated in prison.
After the announcement by the State Department, AMLO stressed that it was the role of his government and not of the United States to capture the drug traffickers.
Through his morning press conference, López Obrador pointed out that if Guzmán's children are in Mexico, it is the job of his country's authorities to stop them. Likewise, he stressed that no foreign force will be allowed to act in Mexican territory.
The president responded to his detractors that, although the United States did not use official channels, it is a priority of his Government to capture these criminals. He also defended his decision to free Ovidio in 2019 in the middle of a capture operation in Culiacán.
“If we did well, if we did wrong, history will tell. I was the one who made the decision to stop the operation," López Obrador stressed at the press conference.