On the afternoon of Friday, October 12, Alejandra Gisselle Guzmán Salazar, 31, was arrested while attempting to enter the United States with a false passport. Guzmán Salazar was crossing from Tijuana to San Diego through the San Ysidro point of entry, the busiest land border crossing in the world. Guzmán Salazar’s arrest carries some significance because she claimed to be Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán’s daughter while she was arrested on Friday. El Chapo is the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel and occupies the number one position on Mexican authorities’ narcotrafficking list of 37 total drug lords.
While attempting to enter the United States on foot, Guzmán Salazar presented a non-immigrant visa in the Mexican passport of another individual. After their initial suspicion, border patrol agents scanned her fingerprints and discovered the inconsistency. Guzmán Salazar claimed that she is at least six months pregnant and wanted to give birth to her child in Los Angeles. She was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and she will have her bail hearing on October 25 regarding her charges of fraud and misuse of visas.
Guzmán Salazar will be represented by attorneys Jan Ronis and Guadalupe Valencia. In an interview, Ronis stated that her real name is Alejandra Gisselle Guzmán Salazar, but he would not confirm that she is related to El Chapo. He stated that the identity of her father should not matter, as she should be tried for her crime of passport fraud, and her case should be examined independently of who her father is. The attorneys stated that the normal sentence for this type of crime is two to six months. In the past, Ronis represented other individuals involved in the drug trade, such as the former leader of the Arellano Felix Organization (AFO), Benjamin Arellano Felix, until Ronis was dismissed from the case because of a conflict of interest.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán has continuously evaded authorities and assassinations while continuing to lead the heavily influential Sinaloa cartel. A 1993 attempted assassination of El Chapo by the Arellano Félix Organization (AFO), ended up with an Archbishop killed instead at the Guadalajara airport. After his capture later that year in Guatemala, Guzmán escaped from the Mexican federal prison in which he was being held in a laundry cart in 2001 among rumors that extradition to the United States for trial was soon to become a reality. Since then, he has been the most sought after man by Mexican authorities and has continued to elude their efforts. El Chapo’s family has remained in the spotlight, as during the month of June, the United States blacklisted his son and ex-wife and froze all of their U.S. assets. Additionally, Guzmán’s wife, Emma Coronel, traveled to Antelope Valley Hospital in southern California, to give birth to twins. Coronel traveled without any problems, as she also holds U.S. citizenship.
Thus far, the Chicago Tribune reports that Guzmán Salazar has not communicated any valuable information to U.S. authorities regarding the whereabouts of her father. José Cuitláhuac Salinas Martínez, Assistant Director of the Attorney General’s Office for Special Investigations on Organized Crime (Subprocuraduría de Investigación Especializada en Delincuencia Organizada, SIEDO), stated that as of Tuesday, U.S. authorities had been very secretive and had not communicated any information to his office. Salinas stated that all of the Office’s information had come from other sources, and there had been no direct contact with U.S. agencies up to that point. Guzmán Salazar has not shared any information yet, and “the significance of the arrest will depend on what Guzmán Salazar can tell authorities about her father, like whether she can provide phone numbers,” said David Shirk, Director of the Trans-Border Institute. Shirk stated that Benjamin Arellano Felix was captured in 2002 after authorities tracked his daughter to find him.