HomeNewsBriefEl Chapo’s Sons, ‘Los Chapitos,’ Next Target for US Authorities
BRIEF

El Chapo’s Sons, ‘Los Chapitos,’ Next Target for US Authorities

EL CHAPO / 25 FEB 2019 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

Authorities in the United States have filed drug trafficking charges against the sons of recently convicted former Sinaloa Cartel leader “El Chapo” Guzmán, in what appears to be authorities’ next step in their systematic pursuit to try and dismantle the cartel.

Joaquín Guzmán López and Ovidio Guzmán López, two sons of former Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín Guzmán Loera, alias “El Chapo,” have been charged with conspiring to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine, 500 grams of methamphetamine, and one ton of marijuana from Mexico and elsewhere into the United States between April 2008 and 2018, the US Justice Department announced February 21.

US authorities also called for the forfeiture of any proceeds El Chapo’s sons directly or indirectly received as part of the drug trafficking conspiracy, according to the indictment. The charges were filed with a district court in the US capital of Washington DC.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

The latest criminal charges come shortly after a US jury found El Chapo guilty of leading an ongoing criminal enterprise, in addition to nine other criminal counts charged in the indictment. The former kingpin will be sentenced in June, but his conviction on that charge carries a minimum life sentence without the possibility of parole.

InSight Crime Analysis

The targeting of El Chapo’s sons by US authorities following the conviction of their father is a logical next step in the pursuit of the Sinaloa Cartel with the hopes of one day dismantling the criminal organization altogether.

Not much is known about Joaquín Guzmán López. But Ovidio and El Chapo’s other sons, Iván Archivaldo, and Jesús Alfredo, known collectively as “Los Chapitos,” were at the heart of an internal struggle with El Chapo’s former right-hand man, Dámaso López Núñez, alias “Licenciado,” over control of the Sinaloa Cartel after their father’s arrest.

However, Licenciado was arrested in May 2017 and extradited to the United States in 2018. His son and former top-level Sinaloa Cartel member, Damáso López Serrano, alias “Mini Lic,” turned himself in to US authorities and pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering charges in 2017, shortly after his father’s arrest.

SEE ALSO: Sinaloa Cartel News and Profile

This solidified the sons’ place at the top of the organization. In September 2018, Jesús Alfredo was added to the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) top 10 most wanted fugitives list. El Chapo’s sons and one of the last remaining members of the Sinaloa Cartel’s old guard, Ismael Zambada Garcia, alias “El Mayo,” have a firm grip over the group’s operations today.

Despite being fingered by the defense as the true leader of the Sinaloa Cartel throughout El Chapo’s US trial, El Mayo has long avoided arrest and hasn’t been pursued nearly as vigorously as El Chapo was by both Mexican and US authorities.

However, even if authorities eventually zero in close enough on El Chapo’s sons and El Mayo to secure their arrest, the Sinaloa Cartel has shown a remarkable ability to carry on in the absence of their suspected leaders. The group’s horizontal structure with decision-making capabilities spread throughout has allowed it to remain one of Mexico’s most powerful criminal groups alongside the Jalisco Cartel — New Generation (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación – CJNG).

In 2016, Jesús Alfredo and his brother Iván were kidnapped by the CJNG’s leader, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias “El Mencho,” in Jalisco state, the group’s home turf.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

HEROIN / 26 SEP 2016

Two of Mexico's most powerful drug cartels are battling for control of the US heroin market, the DEA says, raising…

GULF CARTEL / 7 JUN 2011

Mexico's army discovered a warehouse with four “narco-tanks,” two still unfinished, near the border city of Camargo. This…

MEXICO / 10 OCT 2012

Mexican officials didn’t identify Heriberto Lazcano, alias “Z-3,” until after they had killed him and his body had…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…