The wild lives of El Chapo’s sons from brutal lieutenant to brother killed at 21

Mexican authorities kicked off 2023 with a major arrest, snagging the son of infamous cartel boss Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán on January 5.

Unlike his 2019 arrest, Sinaloa Cartel thugs were unable to force authorities to release Ovidio Guzmán López (known as El Ratón – The Mouse) with a campaign of violence.

It marks a significant blow for Los Chapitos – the faction of the Sinaloa Cartel that pledged loyalty to El Chapo's sons following the notorious drug lord's arrest in 2016.

READ MORE: El Chapo claims his 'teeth have been removed' as he's 'tortured' in US prison

El Chapo is known to have at least 11 children. According to InSight Crime, four have figured prominently in the Sinaloa Cartel – Ovidio, Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar, Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar and Joaquín Guzmán López.

A fifth, Edgar Guzmán López, was killed in a cartel shootout in Culiacan, Sinaloa, in 2008, aged just 21.

Ovidio enjoyed a swanky private education in Mexico City but moved to Sinaloa by the time he was 18, helping in the family business when he was still a teenager.

By 2012, he was a "key lieutenant" in his dad's drug empire, according to the US authorities.

The siblings assumed more power following their father's third and final arrest. They still remain locked in a bloody civil war with Ismael 'El Mayo' Zambada who was seen as El Chapo's right hand man (although some believe he was running the entire operation).

The chaos that ensued after Ovidio was arrested in October 2019, now known as the "Culiacanazo" or Black Thursday, was a stark example of just how much power El Chapo's sons wield.

Around 700 cartel gunmen unleashed a wave of violence in response, rampaging through Culiacan with machine guns and grenades launchers.

The thugs took multiple hostages and targeted government buildings. Authorities released Ovidio, a decision greenlighted by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to bring an end to the bloodshed.

A similar wave of violence erupted after his arrest this year, with cartel gunmen erecting roadblocks and shooting at planes in an attempt to stop authorities moving Ovidio to Mexico City. In total 30 people were killed, but this time he wasn't released.

Iván and Jésus, Ovidio's half brothers, were brought into the cartel by El Chapo and El Mayo at a young age to learn the ins and outs, according to InSight Crime.

Iván was arrested in 2005 on money laundering charges but was released in 2008 after appealing his conviction.

According to Mexican journalist Anabel Hernandez, he requested his dad send him warmer clothes when he was in prison. Guards charged El Chapo around £400,000 to sneak the contraband in, leading to him ordering their torture and murder some time later.

Both Iván and Jésus were among a group of men abducted by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) in 2016 while dining at a posh restaurant in the CJNG's territory, although both were later released.

Jésus, the first of the siblings to land himself on the DEA's most wanted list, is thought to play an important international role and spent several months in Medellin, Colombia, in 2016 – the old stomping ground of Pablo Escobar.

According to the US state department, Iván and Jésus "provided significant operational assistance to their father, including coordinating the transport of narcotics from Central and South America to Mexico; coordinating the transport of narcotics into the United States; distributing drugs to wholesale customers in the United States; and collecting drug proceeds from customers in the United States for transfer to Mexico for the benefit of Sinaloa Cartel members and associates."

Little is known about Joaquín, who has kept a low profile compared to his siblings, other than that the US indicted him alongside Ovidio for conspiring to traffic drugs in 2019.

The US has offered $5million (£4.05m) for information leading to the arrest of any of Los Chapitos.

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