El Chapo’s son Ovidio Guzman was caught in a movie-like operation… What next? ‘The weakest link in the world’s most powerful cartel’

El Chapo’s son Ovidio Guzman was caught in a movie-like operation… What next? ‘The weakest link in the world’s most powerful cartel’

Ovidio, the youngest of his sons, who took over the helm of the Sinaloa Cartel after El Chapo was captured and sent to prison, was arrested for the second time in more than three years last week. However, this time, the apocalypse did not break out like in 2019. So what is the meaning and significance of this catch? What do we know about Ovidio? Here are all the details…

El Chapo’s son Ovidio Guzman was caught in a movie-like operation… What next? ‘The weakest link in the world’s most powerful cartel’


Ovidio, one of the sons of the world-famous drug lord Joaquin Guzman, was detained last week in an operation that was heard in the international media. As soon as Ovidio’s capture was announced, gunfire and explosions began to rise from all over the state of Sinaloa; Airports, highways, schools and workplaces were closed.

The operation made more noise with its timing than its results. A few days before US President Joe Biden’s visit to Mexico City, the capture of Ovidio was considered an important step in reducing diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

So what do we know about Ovidio Guzman? And what does the capture of the young baron mean?


El Chapo's son Ovidio Guzman was caught in a movie-like operation... What will happen next The weakest link in the world's most powerful cartel

Left square is from 2019, right is from last week (Photos: Mexican Government)




Let’s start with a little background.

This isn’t the first time Ovidio has been caught. The Mexican government detained Ovidio in a similar operation in 2019. However, when the reaction of the cartel to the operation grew like an avalanche and turned into a bloody uprising, the government had to step back and experienced great embarrassment in the international arena.

Moreover, thanks to the fiasco, the weight of the cartels in Mexican society and the difficulty of reaching a conclusion in the struggle were also revealed.

The whole world watched the violent conflicts and spilled blood in those days in horror thanks to the videos shared on social media. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said months later that he personally ordered Ovidio’s release, saying that his aim was to protect the majority of the people.

Determined not to make the same mistake this time, Mexican authorities transported Ovidio by helicopter from Sinaloa, where violence and looting had taken place, to Mexico City, a few hours after they captured him.


After his father, Joaquin Guzman, nicknamed El Chapo (Squirt), was captured in 2016 and extradited to the United States for trial in 2017, Ovidio, 32, his older brother Joaquin, 36, and his brothers Ivan Archivaldo (39) and Jesus Alfredo (born to another mother) 36) undertook the administration of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Known to the Mexican public as “Los Chapitos” (little Chapos), the brothers are known as ultra-violent millennials that locals and their business partners fear but do not respect.

For Ovidio, known by the nicknames “El Bebe” (Baby) and “El Raton” (Mouse), experts interpret “the weakest link of the most powerful cartel in the world”.

Despite Being Caught In An Operation Like A Movie, it is stated that Ovidio’s influence in the cartel is very limited, especially when compared to Ivan. Therefore, the capture of Ovidio is not expected to deal a blow to the Sinaloa Cartel’s operations.

“He’s an important person because the Guzman family is the driving force of the Sinaloa Cartel. Blood ties are important,” Mexico City-based security expert Alejandro Hope told VICE.

“And was he the most important person in the cartel? I don’t think so. Will this change the structure of the cartel? I doubt it. Will Ovidio’s capture have a significant impact on the flow of the drug trade? Most likely not.”


El Chapo's son Ovidio Guzman was caught in a movie-like operation... What will happen next The weakest link in the world's most powerful cartel

Escaped prison twice in Mexico, El Chapo was sent to the US to stand trial in 2017



The capture of Ovidio, however, is a very important symbolic achievement for Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador; especially, as we said above, a few days before US President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went to Mexico City between 9-11 January for regional contacts…

On the other hand, Lopez Obrador has also given an answer to those who accuse him in many ways, from making deals with the Sinaloa Cartel to being too soft on criminals.

The promise of Lopez Obrador, who took office in 2018 with the slogan “Hugs, not bullets”, was to go to the roots rather than go against violence. Today, the success of this policy is being discussed because murders in the country have reached record levels. Washington, on the other hand, is constantly pressing Mexico City to prevent the drug trade across the border. Lopez Obrador promised to “fight fentanyl with all its might” last October last year.

Mexican Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval announced that 29 people, including 10 soldiers and 19 cartel members, lost their lives in the operation in Culiacan, where Ovidio was detained. In addition to Ovidio, 21 people were detained.

At the press conference he held, Cresencio Sandoval said, “We were able to catch Ovidio thanks to the intelligence studies that allowed us to locate the criminals in the country,” and added that they have been following El Raton for 6 months.

Cresencio Sandoval said that the Mexican National Guard, with the support of the Mexican army, detected a convoy of armored vehicles and followed it out of Culiacan.


El Chapo's son Ovidio Guzman was caught in a movie-like operation... What will happen next The weakest link in the world's most powerful cartel



A US source who served as a senior security official in Mexico in the past told VICE that it could not be a coincidence that such a development took place just before Biden’s visit. “This is exactly what Lopez Obrador would do. He’s playing us around,” the source said.

A month before Ovidio’s capture, there was a development that strained the US-Mexico relations. According to a leaked memo, in March 2016, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported the whereabouts of Ivan Archivaldo and Joaquin to the Mexican military and sought help in their capture, but was denied. The revelation of a hacker group leaked to Riodoce magazine has made the US question Mexico’s sincerity once again in the fight against drugs.

In the statements made by Mexican officials, it was stated that the operation was a success of local institutions, while another US source stated that the National Security Investigations (HSI) unit also played a role.

The U.S. State Department Promised A $ 5 million reward to the person or persons who would catch Ovidio in December 2021 .

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said in a statement after the operation that the United States wanted Ovidio’s extradition, but the evaluations regarding this request would take time.


El Chapo's son Ovidio Guzman was caught in a movie-like operation... What will happen next The weakest link in the world's most powerful cartel



Ovidio has been associated with increased Mexican production of fentanyl, a synthetic drug, and its trade to the United States. However, a source close to both Hope and the Sinaloa Cartel argued that the main reason for Ovidio’s public recognition was the fiasco after the 2019 arrest.

The US accuses Ovidio of smuggling tons of drugs of various types into the country. In the reports of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is stated that around 1500-2500 kilograms are produced per month in Sinaloa’s drug laboratories. The ministry also claims that there is information that many people, including the singer who performed at Ovidio’s wedding, ordered the death.

The source, who wanted to remain anonymous because he was afraid of the reactions from the cartel, told VICE World News, “The biggest unfortunate thing for El Bebe was that he was caught in front of everyone in 2019. But he is not a person whose word is heard very much in the cartel.” added:

“Actually, he didn’t even want to join the cartel, but Ivan, who was the one who gave the orders, forced him to do so. Ovidio was rather a cool kid from Culiacan. He wasn’t the fighting type. He’s a very quiet and docile kid. But he knew the strength of the structure he was in and how his older brothers protected him. “


El Chapo's son Ovidio Guzman was caught in a movie-like operation... What will happen next The weakest link in the world's most powerful cartel

Joaquin Guzman Lopez



Ovidio was quite popular in Culiacan, especially in the city’s wealthy neighborhood called Tres Rios, before the detention-release debacle that went down in Mexican history as Black Thursday, or “Culiacanazo” . Speaking to VICE News on condition of anonymity, a source said that they often saw Ovidio while eating at the mall , driving around in his luxury car, or going to buy coffee .

After spending the first four years of his education in one of Mexico City’s most prestigious Catholic schools, Ovidio left school after his father escaped from prison in 2001 and returned to Sinaloa. Here he was raised by El Chapo’s mother, Maria Consuelo Loera.

Ovidio’s mother is Griselda Lopez Perez, the second wife of El Chapo. El Chapo and Perez had a third son, Edgar, with Ovidio and Joaquin. Edgar was shot and killed in 2008 while having fun with his friends in the parking lot of a shopping mall in Culiacan. El Chapo bought all the roses in Culiacan (50,000 as described in Lupillo Rivera’s song ’50 Mile Rosas’) and sent them to Edgar’s funeral.


El Chapo, who has four sons from his first wife, including Ivan and Jesus Alfredo, and twin daughters with his current wife, Emma Coronel (the person in the photo), is believed to have many other illegitimate children.


For many years, Ovidio was the least known member of the Guzman criminal dynasty. His name was first mentioned along with his father and older brother Ivan in a sanction decision taken by the US Treasury Department in 2012. Despite this, he managed not to attract attention for a long time until he was taken into custody in 2019.

On the other hand, Ivan became the face of the Chapitos. Well-known to the public and security forces for his involvement in the 2004 murder of a Canadian university student in Guadalajara, Ivan was arrested in 2005 on money laundering charges but was released a few years later due to lack of evidence.

Since then, Ivan and his brother Jesus Alfredo have also become famous for their posts on the internet. The themes of money, weapons and beautiful women come to the fore in the shares made on Twitter and Instagram accounts, which are thought to belong to the brothers.


The lifestyle represented by the Guzman brothers is simply “Narco Jr.” known as. The children of drug lords, who grew up in wealth, show their glamorous lives to the whole world through social media. Photo courtesy of Ivan’s Twitter.


El Chapo's son Ovidio Guzman was caught in a movie-like operation... What next?  The weakest link of the world's most powerful cartel

Ivan and Jesus Alfredo also made international headlines when they were abducted by the Jalisco Next Generation Cartel (CJNG) while having dinner in Puerto Vallarta in 2016. The brothers were released after alleged negotiations between the two cartels.

CJNG was founded in 2010 by a group that broke away from Sinaloa. DEA director Anne Milgram described the two cartels as “the most pressing threat facing our society, children and family” in a statement last September.

Considered one of the most powerful and violent criminal organizations in the world, the Sinaloa Cartel has connections all over Latin America. In addition to the drug trade, the cartel is also engaged in business such as immigration and wood smuggling.

In addition to the Chapitos, Ismael Zambada (one of the founders of the cartel) and El Chapo’s brother Auerliano Guzman, known as “El Guano”, also have a say in the management of the cartel.


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