(Reuters) - 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 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.
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