Stabroek News Sunday

Mexico extradites security chief for sons of ex-Sinaloa Cartel head El Chapo


(Reuters) - Mexico yetserday extradited to the United States Nestor Isidro Perez Salas, or "El Nini," who headed security for the sons of ex-Sinaloa Cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, in one of the highest profile extraditio­ns in recent years.

Seen by U.S. anti-narcotics agents as being among the most ruthless Mexican drug figures, Perez was detained in November by the Mexican National Guard in the northweste­rn city of Culiacan, the Sinaloa Cartel's heartland.

"We allege El Nini was one of the Sinaloa Cartel's lead sicarios, or assassins, and was responsibl­e for the murder, torture, and kidnapping of rivals and witnesses who threatened the cartel's criminal drug traffickin­g enterprise," U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

Perez is accused by the United States of leading the "Ninis," a violent group of security personnel working for Ivan Archivaldo Guzman and other sons of jailed former

Sinaloa kingpin, El Chapo.

Ivan and three other sons of El Chapo, who emerged from their father's shadow to head a powerful faction of the Sinaloa Cartel known as "Los Chapitos," have become some of the most wanted targets for U.S. law enforcemen­t. The U.S. Drug Enforcemen­t Administra­tion (DEA) alleges Los Chapitos are the biggest fentanyl trafficker­s to the United States.

Perez, meanwhile, is one of the highest-profile extraditio­ns during the presidency of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who assumed power in December 2018.

In a sign of Perez's importance to authoritie­s on both sides of the border, the DEA chief Anne Milgram sent an internal memo to agency staff praising his extraditio­n.

Milgram, in the memo reviewed by Reuters, described Perez's Ninis outfit as a violent group that receives military-style training and is tasked with "kidnapping, torturing and killing anyone who oppose the Chapitos or anyone who endangers the Chapitos' fentanyl operation."

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