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U.S. offers $5 million each for details on Los Chapitos — El Chapo’s four sons

‘All four are high-ranking members of the Sinaloa Cartel and are each subject to a federal indictment for their involvement in the illicit drug trade,’ the State Department said in the press release announcing the incentive

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The U.S. Department of State is putting up $5 million for information leading to the capture of any of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera’s four sons.

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The bounties were announced Wednesday after U.S. President Joe Biden signed two executive orders expanding federal powers to target beneficiaries of the drug trade.

Last month, Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of El Chapo was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to helping the drug lord run his multi-billion dollar criminal empire and for helping him escape prison in 2015.

Following El Chapo’s arrest and extradition in 2017, his sons reportedly took up, along with their uncle El Guano, prominent positions in the running of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

The younger Guzmans—Ovidio Guzmán López, Ivan Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar, Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar and Joaquín Guzmán López—are known collectively as Los Chapitos and control large factions of the cartel. They are believed to be involved in bloody turf wars with rival gangs as well as infighting for control of the organization.

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Brothers Iván Archivaldo and Jesús Alfredo were kidnapped by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel in August 2016 but were released within a week after members of the Sinaloa Cartel negotiated their release with the protection of the incarcerated son of CJNG’s boss EL Mencho as collateral, according to Vice.

In October 2019, Mexican soldiers arrested a third Chapito, Ovidio, in Culiacan, the capital of the state of Sinaloa. However the arrest was thwarted after hundreds of cartel gunmen engaged in an hours-long gunfight that left at least eight people dead.

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Mexican President Lopex Obrador promptly ordered the release of Ovidio to put an end to the carnage, a move seen as an indication of the country’s helplessness in stopping narco traffickers.

“All four are high-ranking members of the Sinaloa Cartel and are each subject to a federal indictment for their involvement in the illicit drug trade,” the State Department said in the press release announcing the incentive.

The State Department also added it is “taking significant steps to enhance our efforts to disrupt and deter transnational criminal activity globally.”

The announcement follows two new executive orders intended to fight drug trafficking and criminal networks on Wednesday, allowing for new sanctions on Chinese companies trading ingredients of the opioid drug fentanyl and on criminal gangs in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.

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The sanctions deny designated entities access to U.S. dollar transactions and freeze any assets they may hold in the United States. But organized crime groups in recent years have been shifting to crypto assets and other methods of avoiding the U.S. financial system.

The State Department previously has also offered $15 million for information that would result in the apprehension or conviction of Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada, co-founder and high-ranking leader of the Sinaloa cartel.

Ovidio, Ivan and Jesus have all been indicted on previous federal drug trafficking charges, reports Daily Mail.

Additional reporting from Reuters

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