Photo: Serafin Zambada Ortiz
Serafin Zambada Ortiz, the son of Mexican drug lord Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, entered a plea of not guilty to drug charges in federal court in San Diego.
The 23-year-old Zambada Ortiz, who is a U.S. citizen and was arrested last week in Arizona, appeared before federal Judge Karen Crawford on Wednesday.
Zambada Ortiz listened to a translation of the proceedings via an electronic device amid tight security in the courtroom.
Prosecutors asked the judge to order the suspect held without bail as he awaits trial.
Zambada Ortiz was arrested on Nov. 20 at the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona, by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents.
His wife, Karime Torres Acosta, was with him at the time of his arrest.
Zambada Ortiz was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Diego in September on charges that he smuggled methamphetamine and cocaine into the United States.
Defense attorney Mike McDonnell told reporters that Twitter and Facebook accounts linked to his client were not his.
A person claiming to be Serafin Zambada posted photos on Twitter of luxury watches, SUVs, automobiles, gold-plated firearms, bags of marijuana, a lion and a cheetah in the window of an SUV.
The Facebook page of Serafin Zambada featured photos of the executions of suspected informants and images of Sinaloa cartel members showing off their large-caliber weapons.
El Mayo Zambada is one of the top leaders of Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa drug cartel and the United States is offering a reward of $5 million for his capture.
The Sinaloa cartel, sometimes referred to by officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico and Chapo Guzman, considered extremely violent, is one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration has offered a reward of $5 million for him.
The Sinaloa organization, according to intelligence agencies, is a transnational business empire that operates in the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Americas and Asia.