SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A woman said to be the daughter of a notorious Mexican drug lord arrested at the U.S. border in October has pleaded guilty in California to using a false passport and has been deported, court records show.
A pregnant Alejandrina Gisselle Guzman-Salazar, 31, was detained after she tried to cross on foot from Tijuana into the United States using a false visa and name, telling customs agents that she wanted to give birth to her child in Los Angeles, according to court documents in the case.
During a search of her purse, the agents found a Mexican driver’s license and a voter card, also in the false name, according to a motion filed by federal prosecutors.
The Los Angeles Times has reported, citing an unnamed high-ranking U.S. law enforcement official, that Guzman-Salazar told agents at the border that she was the daughter of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel.
A federal official who asked not to be identified has also told Reuters that she was the drug kingpin’s daughter.
But prosecutors and her defense attorneys have declined to confirm that Guzman-Salazar is related to El Chapo.
Guzman-Salazar pleaded guilty on Monday to a single count of fraud and misuse of visas and documents, according to court documents. U.S. District Judge Cathy Bencivengo sentenced Guzman Salazar to the time she’d already spent in detention.
Prosecutors dismissed five other counts and she was deported before she could give birth to her child.
“The government treated her just like anyone else caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally for the first time,” Guzman-Salazar’s attorney, Guadalupe Valencia, said. “They treated her fairly regardless of who she is or who she says she is.”
El Chapo, whose nickname means “Shorty” in English, escaped a Mexican prison in a laundry basket in 2001 to become the country’s highest-profile trafficker, hauling tons of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin to U.S. markets in trucks, ultralight aircraft and through clandestine tunnels.
Included on Forbes list of billionaires since 2009, Guzman has been indicted in the United States on dozens of charges of racketeering and conspiracy to import narcotics. Washington has a $5 million reward for the capture of El Chapo.
In recent months, U.S. and Mexican agents have arrested traffickers close to him and seized his assets on both sides of the border. Among those targeted by the U.S. Treasury Department was Maria Alejandrina Hernandez Salazar, reported to be Guzman-Salazar’s mother.
Guzman’s third or fourth wife, Emma Coronel, made headlines last year when she traveled to Los Angeles to give birth to twins. (Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Richard Chang)