Mexico’s top security official said Friday that authorities are prepared for possible retaliation from crime syndicate figures following the extradition to the United States of the son of a major drug cartel leader.
Mexico did not issue a special alert about potential danger, but authorities were monitoring for criminal activity that might result from the extradition, Alfonso Durazo, Mexico’s federal secretary of public security, told reporters.
His comments came a day after Mexico extradited Rubén Oseguera González to the United States to face federal drug charges.
Oseguera, 30, is known as “Menchito,” after his father, Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes, 53, the fugitive leader of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, considered one of Mexico’s most violent and fastest-growing crime syndicates.
In an interview with Mexico’s Milenio news outlet, the younger Oseguera’s Mexican attorney, Víctor Beltrán, said his client denied the drug-trafficking allegations and accused U.S. authorities of inventing charges against Oseguera.
Washington has offered a $10-million reward for help in capturing the elder Oseguera, who has long eluded arrest in Mexico.
In 2018, while unveiling indictments against the senior Oseguera, his son and other alleged cartel figures, the U.S. Department of Justice said that the New Generation cartel is “one of the five most dangerous transnational criminal organizations in the world, responsible for trafficking many tons of cocaine, methamphetamines and fentanyl-laced heroin into the United States, as well as for violence and significant loss of life in Mexico.”
The younger Oseguera, who was born in the United States, faces drug-trafficking and other charges in federal court in Washington, D.C.
U.S. authorities labeled him the second in command of the cartel until his arrest by Mexican authorities in 2015.
Oseguera has been fighting extradition for years, but Mexican authorities said his final appeal was denied this week.
Footage on Mexican television showed Oseguera, dressed in an open-collar red shirt, being escorted Thursday by soldiers to a helicopter.
In response to the extradition, the U.S. consulate in Guadalajara issued a security alert noting that criminal gangs in the western state of Jalisco have previously taken “retaliatory actions” against the government, including “blockades inside the city and on interstate highways,” and setting vehicles on fire. The consulate urged citizens to “minimize travel and monitor news before driving anywhere.”
Mexico has extradited many high-profile drug traffickers to the United States, notably Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, former head of the Sinaloa Cartel and long regarded as the world’s leading drug lord. Guzman was convicted last year in U.S. federal court of drug-trafficking and other charges and is now serving a life sentence in the United States.
Despite the arrests and extraditions of drug kingpins, violence has continued to soar in Mexico. Last year, authorities reported that more than 35,500 people were victims of homicide, a record since comparable records have been kept. Tens of thousands of people in Mexico remain what is known as disappeared, presumed victims of violence.
Special correspondent Cecilia Sánchez in Mexico City contributed to this report.