Violence Erupts after Mexico Arrests the Son of “El Chapo”
Dozens died in a wave of violence that engulfed the Mexican city of Culiacán when police last week arrested the son of jailed Sinaloa Cartel chief “El Chapo” Guzmán just days ahead of the visit of U.S. President Joe Biden to the country.
said that officers had captured Ovidio Guzmán López, 32, the alleged leader of the Menores (The Minors), a faction of his father's Sinaloa cartel.The Mexican Secretariat of National Defense
Early Thursday morning, police spotted at least six suspicious armored-looking SUVs and trucks on the streets of Culiacán. Officers tried to get the suspects out of their vehicles to identify them but they ignored the order and opened fire.
Nearly 30 people were killed during the operation, including 10 officers. Still, law enforcement managed to arrest 18 gunmen, including Guzmán López.
The arrest sparked violent retaliatory attacks in the city, with cartel members setting up roadblocks, burning vehicles and shooting at airplanes at the airport in an attempt to rescue their boss.
Seven soldiers were killed in the operation but Guzmán López was in the end transferred by helicopter to a prison in Mexico City. He is also wanted by the United States but a Mexican judge halted his extradition.
This is a “provisional suspension” and the suspect remains available to the Mexican courts for now, explained judge Juan Mateo Brieba de Castro.
The U.S. Department of State is seeking Guzmán López and one of his brothers for their role in overseeing about 11 methamphetamine labs in the Mexican state of Sinaloa which produce up to 2,500 kilograms of the drug per month.
In addition, the U.S. authorities believe Guzmán López is behind the murders of informants, a drug trafficker, and a popular Mexican singer who had refused to sing at his wedding.
Guzmán López was first arrested in late 2019, but the cartel launched an all-out offensive and forced President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to order his release. This time authorities seemed to be determined to keep him jailed and many speculate that the timing of the operation indicates that the decision to go after him was a political one.
It came days before the Mexican president’s meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden. According to the Intercept, analysts believe that the operation was designed to show that despite complaints by U.S. security officials, Mexico was committed to providing a safe and secure environment in the country.