SAN DIEGO (AP) — The son of one of the world's most-wanted drug lords was arrested at an Arizona border crossing to face drug-trafficking charges in the United States, authorities said Friday.
Serafin Zambada, 23, was arrested Wednesday afternoon while crossing the border from Mexico in Nogales, Ariz., accompanied by his wife in a pedestrian lane, said Kelly Thornton, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego. The wife was detained and released.
Zambada's father is Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, who survived decades of turf wars and rose to the top of Mexico's underworld through savvy deal-brokering. Ismael Zambada is considered the strategist of Mexico's Sinaloa cartel, more involved in daily operations than his better-known boss, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.
Serafin Zambada, a U.S. citizen, was scheduled to appear before a federal judge in Tucson, Ariz., on Monday to determine if he is eligible for bail. Prosecutors plan to ask that he be sent to San Diego to face federal charges of conspiracy to import methamphetamine and cocaine, and criminal forfeiture.
The younger Zambada's attorney, Saji Vettiyil, said his client would fight the charges.
"My client is looking forward to the day when he can clear his name in a court of law. He has absolute faith in the legal system," Vettiyil said.
Serafin Zambada, also called "Sera," is not known for involvement in the drug trade in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, where he lives and where his family is from, according to family and friends. His indictment filed under seal in San Diego on Sept. 27 offers little detail, saying only that he conspired to bring at least 500 grams of methamphetamine and 5 kilograms of cocaine to the U.S.