He was briefly arrested in 2019 but released to avoid bloodshed when his cartel retaliated. The indictments against Guzmán López and his brothers allege that they took over the Sinaloa cartel after their father's extradition and focused on the production and distribution of synthetic drugs, including methamphetamine and fentanyl. During the hearing, Guzmán López appeared in an orange jumpsuit with his ankles shackled and listened to the proceedings through a Spanish interpreter.
The court appearance took place under tight security, with a larger-than-usual contingent of security present in the courtroom. The 33-year-old Guzmán López, who has been described as short and slight, answered the judge's questions softly and politely, presenting a stark contrast to the violent reputation of the cartel he is alleged to be involved with. It is worth noting that his arrest in January sparked a wave of violence in Culiacán, leaving 30 people dead, including 10 military personnel.
The indictment against Guzmán López and his brothers, which was unsealed in April, alleges that their goal was to produce large quantities of fentanyl and sell it at a low price. However, the brothers have denied these allegations, stating in a letter that they have never produced or commercialized fentanyl or its derivatives. They claim to be victims of persecution and scapegoating.
The charges against Guzmán López carry severe penalties, with some counts carrying a maximum life sentence. These charges include conspiracy to import drugs, conspiracy to distribute drugs, and engaging in an illegal enterprise as a leader. Guzmán López pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Guzmán López's extradition to the United States is seen as a significant step in the joint efforts of the American and Mexican governments to combat drug trafficking. The extradition is a result of ongoing cooperation between the two countries and is a testament to their commitment to addressing the challenges posed by drug cartels. Homeland Security Adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall praised the extradition as a demonstration of the importance of this cooperation.
Guzmán López will remain in custody until his trial and is scheduled to appear in court again on November 17th. The trial will be closely watched as it involves one of the heirs to the Sinaloa cartel and represents a continued effort to dismantle the operations of the notorious drug trafficking organization.