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Daughter of Mexico's most powerful drug lord, 'El Chapo', held in U.S.

  1. source
    The daughter of Mexico's most powerful drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, has been arrested trying to cross the border into the United States using falsified identification papers, the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday.

    Court documents provided to Reuters showed that Alejandrina Gisselle Guzman-Salazar was detained on Friday at the San Ysidro port of entry after border patrol officers discovered she was using a counterfeit visa and a false name in an attempt to cross the border on foot from Tijuana, Mexico.

    Guzman-Salazar told border patrol officers at the crossing she was the daughter of the leader of the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel, an unnamed high-ranking U.S. law enforcement official told the Los Angeles Times.

    Reuters could not immediately confirm her familial ties to Guzman. Officials at the U.S. Attorney's office in San Diego declined to say if Guzman-Salazar was the daughter of the drug kingpin, nor would a spokesman with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in San Diego.

    Court records show Guzman-Salazar told border patrol officers she was attempting to enter the United States to give birth to her child in Los Angeles.

    Drug kingpin Guzman was born in La Tuna, a village in the Sierra Madre mountains in western Sinaloa state, and was tutored in the drug business by Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, who pioneered cocaine smuggling routes into the United States.

    In 1993, police arrested Guzman in Guatemala and extradited him to Mexico, where he was locked up in a top security jail.

    But in 2001, Guzman famously broke out of jail, smuggled out in a laundry cart after he bribed his guards. He went on to rebuild the Sinaloa cartel into one of the biggest trafficking empires in history.


    The U.S. business magazine Forbes has valued Guzman's wealth at $1 billion (620 million pounds) although other investigators say it is impossible to know exactly how much he has really made.

    The U.S. government has offered a $5 million reward for Guzman's capture.

    In 2007, Guzman married an 18-year-old beauty queen in a village in Durango state in an ostentatious ceremony. Guzman's bride gave birth to twins in a Los Angeles hospital in 2011.

    In June, Mexican authorities paraded Guzman's son, Jesus Alfredo Guzman or "The Fat One," in front of the media. A few days later, in a humiliating about-turn, they admitted the captive was not Guzman's son, but rather a car salesman.

    In the last few months, the U.S. Treasury has started freezing the U.S. assets of Guzman's crime associates and even his second wife, Griselda Lopez.

    Two of Guzman's sons, Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar and Ovidio Guzman Lopez, have been singled out by the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control as members of the Sinaloa Cartel.

    Mexico's attorney general's office said Guzman-Salazar, a citizen of Mexico, was not wanted for any crimes in Mexico. According to the Los Angeles Times, she is the daughter of Maria Alejandrina Salazar Hernandez, Guzman's first wife.

    She was planning to meet up with the father of her child in Los Angeles, where he resides, according to the official quoted in the newspaper, who added that she does not appear to be a major player in her father's crime syndicate.

    Guzman-Salazar appeared in court on Monday for an initial appearance, according to a court record summary provided by the U.S. Attorney's office. She is next due in court on October 25.

    Her lawyers, Guadalupe Valencia and Jan Ronis, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    By Mary Slosson and Dan Whitcomb, Tuesday October 16th, 2012 8:28pm BST
    (Additional reporting by Marty Graham in San Diego and Lizbeth Diaz, Anahi Rama, and Gabriel Stargardter in Mexico City; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Todd Eastham)


  1. source
    (Reuters) - A woman thought to be the daughter of a notorious Mexican drug lord appeared in U.S. federal court in San Diego on Thursday to plead not guilty to charges of trying to illegally enter the United States using fraudulent documents and a fake identity.

    Alejandrina Gisselle Guzman-Salazar was detained earlier this month after tried crossing from Tijuana, Mexico, into California on foot using a counterfeit visa and a false name, telling authorities she wanted to give birth to her child in Los Angeles, according to court documents in the case.

    A six-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on Wednesday charged her with criminal fraud and misuse of documents, giving false statements to federal officers and aggravated identity theft.

    During a brief hearing on Thursday before a U.S. magistrate, Guzman-Salazar, who was visibly pregnant, entered a not guilty plea to all charges and waived her right to challenge her detention.

    Dressed in red jail scrubs with her wavy hair tied in a single braid down her back, Guzman-Salazar said little except to answer affirmatively in Spanish, "si," to procedural questions put to her through a translator during the hearing.

    A federal official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak on the record, has confirmed that Guzman-Salazar is the daughter of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, leader of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel.

    Immigration officials use their discretion in deciding whether to detain and charge those attempting to cross the border using a false name or counterfeit papers. Sometimes offenders are simply refused entry and released into Mexico.

    But the federal official told Reuters Guzman-Salazar was detained because "she is related to drug traffickers."


    An attorney for Guzman-Salazar, who does not face drug charges in either the United States or Mexico, has said the decision to keep her in custody was likely made because authorities believe her to be the drug kingpin's daughter.

    "What the government thought about her lineage was probably a motivating factor in their decision to hold her," attorney Jan Ronis of San Diego told Reuters, although he would not say if his client was related to Joaquin Guzman.

    El Chapo, whose nickname means "Shorty" in English, escaped a Mexican prison in a laundry basket in 2001 to become the country's highest-profile trafficker, hauling tons of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin to U.S. markets in trucks, ultralight aircraft and through clandestine tunnels.

    Guzman, born in Mexico's rugged western Sinaloa state, also commands groups of assassins battling rival cartels for valuable turf stretching from U.S. borderlands down into Central America.

    Included on Forbes list of billionaires since 2009, Guzman has been indicted in the United States on dozens of charges of racketeering and conspiracy to import narcotics.

    Washington has a $5 million reward for the capture of El Chapo, who began his rise to power under Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, the so-called "Godfather" of Mexican trafficking, who pioneered cocaine smuggling routes into the United States.

    In recent months, U.S. and Mexican agents have been closing in on Guzman, and have arrested traffickers close to him and seized his assets on both sides of the border.

    Among those targeted by the U.S. Treasury Department this year was Maria Alejandrina Hernandez Salazar, reported to be Guzman-Salazar's mother.

    Guzman's third or fourth wife, Emma Coronel, made headlines last year when she travelled to Los Angeles to give birth to twins. Analysts say Guzman-Salazar holds out the tantalizing possibility of fresh leads in the hunt for El Chapo.

    (Additional reporting by Tim Gaynor; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Todd Eastham)

    By Marty Graham, Reuters. San Diego, Friday October 26th 2012.
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