The extravagant lifestyles of El Chapo's sons, including the prisoner Ovidio Guzmán López.
El Chapo's son, Ovidio Guzmán López, was born in Sinaloa Cartel territory in northwestern Mexico, but he was nurtured in the lap of luxury hundreds of miles away from his drug-trafficking father.
As a child, Ovidio — who was caught earlier this month by Mexican authorities, sparking a wave of cartel violence — was driven by cab each morning to his exclusive Catholic school in Mexico City's posh Jardines del Pedregal district.
However, if his mother, Griselda López Perez, desired for her youngest son to enter bourgeois society and seek higher education, her aspirations were likely hindered by her infamous husband.
Ovidio, who was apprehended in Sinaloa on January 5, climbed to a position of prominence within the cartel run by his father. In January 2016, Mexican police caught Joaqun "El Chapo" Guzmán and extradited him to the United States to face drug trafficking and murder accusations.
Born to Griselda, El Chapo's second wife and the mother of four of his reportedly 23 children, Ovidio relocated to Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, when he was 11 years old. His father had bribed jail guards and escaped from a maximum security prison there. (El Chapo is presently serving a life sentence in a high-security prison in Colorado for murder and drug trafficking; he recently begged with Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador to intervene on his behalf due to supposedly "suffering" prison circumstances.)
Ovidio joined the Sinaloa cartel at the demand of his father at the age of 18, working with his older brother Joaquin. Sons of El Chapo's first wife, Alejandrina Salazar Hernandez, Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar and Jesus Alfredo Guzmán Salazar had also joined the organization.
They were known collectively as Los Chapitos, or the tiny Chapos.
Professor of Latin American history at the University of Warwick and author of "The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade" Benjamin Smith stated, "Ovidio is not the norm." "The majority of cartel leaders want their children to live a bourgeois lifestyle and receive a quality education. They are sent to Oxford and Harvard. They do not wish for them to join the family company."
And with good cause. Edgar Guzmán López, son of El Chapo, was killed in a mob shootout in Culiacan in May 2008 at the age of 21. He left behind a widow, who later married boxer Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and a daughter, Frida Sofia Guzmán Muoz, who is 17 years old and aspiring to be a singer.
In 2021, the US Department of State announced $5 million prizes for information leading to the capture of each member of Los Chapitos.
According to a State Department press statement, Ovidio, 32, and his older brothers are accused of "supervising about 11 methamphetamine labs in the state of Sinaloa that produced an estimated 3,000-5,000 pounds of methamphetamine each month."
According to Smith, Ovidio like Pablo Escobar, the Colombian drug lord who was slain by Colombian troops in 1993, enjoys showy automobiles and fashionable clothing.
"Ovidio led an affluent lifestyle in Culiacan and has never maintained a low profile like other cartel bosses," Smith told The Post. Everyone in Culiacan was aware of his residence.
Prior to his detention by Mexican police on January 5, Ovidio lived with his lover Adriana Meza Torres, with whom he had many similarities: She is the daughter of Raul Meza Ontiveros, a member of the Sinaloa cartel's old guard. According to sources, her father, known by his underworld alias M-6, was killed in a shootout in Sinaloa in 2007.
After the drug-trafficking arrest of El Chapo's current beauty-queen wife (and Ovidio's stepmother), Emma Coronel Aispuro, in 2021, the gorgeous Adriana got the moniker "Queen of the Sinaloa Cartel" due to her relationship with Ovidio.
On October 17, 2019, Ovidio was apprehended by Mexican National Guard personnel at his residence in Culiacan. Officials let him free, however, when the Sinaloa cartel unleashed a wave of violence in the metropolis of 889,000 citizens by torching cars and kidnapping hostages. Eight persons were killed and sixteen others were injured on what became known as "Culiacanazo" or "Black Thursday." Since taking office in 2018, Mexico's President Andres Manuel López Obrador has prioritized social development above a full-scale war on narcotics. He supported the controversial decision to release Ovidio.
At the time, López Obrador stated, "The officials that made this judgment did well."
"The apprehension of a criminal is not more valuable than human life."
Ovidio was apprehended in Mexico on January 9, four days before President Biden's departure to Mexico for the North American leaders summit. The cartel reportedly shot at commercial jets attempting to take off from Culiacan's international airport and killed 30 people in the city as part of a new wave of violence.
Smith informed The Post that the violence was not a message about Ovidio's capture. "If they truly desired to attack the government and secure his release, the cartel would fire missiles against government helicopters." Instead, the bloodshed served as a message to the government not to pursue the detention of other cartel members."
According to Smith, the dramatic capture was little more than "political theater" for Biden's benefit. "It was just a lot of noise because his capture has little effect on the drug trade, other than possibly making drugs cheaper."
Ovidio and his brothers may have a family legacy, but according to Smith, they are essentially "tiny nodes in a vast network" whose lucrative drug trafficking will continue without them.
According to him, the siblings control separate regions of the state where they tax medication manufacturers. "With his capture, you've just eliminated a layer of taxation. Ovidio was effectively the cartel's tax collector."
Smith claims that Ovidio undoubtedly irritated one of his competitors.
"They betrayed him, and the police knew where he was in Sinaloa because he had an excessively high public profile and was essentially a mini-Escobar."
Ovidio is currently detained in a federal jail in Mexico, while his father languishes in a facility with the highest level of security in Colorado.
El Chapo has regularly expressed dissatisfaction with his status in U.S. jails.
In a letter to the president of Mexico, Guzman states, "I have never seen the sun," adding that in the six years he has been in solitary confinement at Administrative Maximum Penitentiary in Florence, he has never been taken outside. "I have endured a great deal... of migraines, memory loss, muscle cramps, anxiety, and sadness."
In Mexico, authorities are keeping a careful eye on Ovidio in jail, according to Smith, but they will likely relax their scrutiny once he joins the general prison population.
"Then he'll be able to do whatever he wants," Smith added, adding that Ovidio could likely continue cartel operations from behind bars. "He is not a major player, but because he was caught, he appears to be a major player."