A son of the former Sinaloa drug cartel kingpin known as El Chapo pleaded not guilty on Monday to drug, money-laundering and other charges in a Chicago court.
He, his two brothers and nearly two dozen others were arrested in January by Mexican authorities and charged in April with drug trafficking, specifically fentanyl — a departure from their dad’s cocaine business, according to an indictment on May 1. Their father, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, is jailed for life plus 30 years on drug and a host of other charges.
The arrest in Culiacan, Sinaloa, came after a night of violence that left 30 people dead, including at least 10 military personnel and 19 suspected cartel members.
On Monday, the 33-year-old Guzman, nicknamed “the Mouse,” or “El Raton,” spoke in a polite soft voice as he answered U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman’s questions.
Wearing an orange jumpsuit and slippers with his ankles shackled, Guzman lodged his not-guilty plea through a translator during a 15-minute hearing in a courtroom stocked with extra security.
He and his brothers, known as the “Chapitos,” previously denied the charges in a letter.
“We have never produced, manufactured or commercialized fentanyl nor any of its derivatives,” the siblings wrote in May. “We are victims of persecution and have been made into scapegoats.”
With News Wire Services