Ovidio Guzman pleaded not guilty to five counts, including drug trafficking and money laundering, in a Chicago court.
Monday marked his first court appearance.
Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, he spoke clearly with Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman. If convicted, he risks life in prison for two charges.
During extradition talks, the death penalty was ruled out. Strict security measures surrounded the courtroom, such as a ban on phones.
His next court date is in November. Until his recent arrest, he was a top target for U.S. law enforcement.
He had a key role in fentanyl trafficking. Earlier this year, Mexican police arrested him. Subsequently, U.S. prosecutors charged him and his siblings for leading the Sinaloa Cartel.
U.S. officials say this cartel is a major fentanyl supplier in America.
However, his arrest and a planned visit from U.S. President Joe Biden to Mexico had no connection, said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Recently, Obrador stated the extradition aimed to prevent giving the U.S. any political leverage for the upcoming 2024 elections.
This case draws international attention due to its high-profile nature. Ovidio’s father, “El Chapo,” was a notorious figure.
His capture and extradition were major milestones for both Mexican and U.S. authorities. Now,
His son faces similar legal challenges.
Public interest is also high due to the Sinaloa Cartel‘s infamy. It’s a leading player in global drug trafficking.
These events may affect the cartel’s operations, but to what extent is still unknown. Experts believe the family still has significant influence in the drug trade.
The timing of the extradition is also noteworthy. It comes amidst political events in both countries.
Obrador’s comments on avoiding “political pretexts” indicate concern for international relations.
U.S. elections are approaching in 2024, making any high-profile legal cases potential political tools.