El Chapo: Mexican Authorities free drug lord’s son as Culiacán battle erupts
Heavy fighting broke out in northern Mexico after the security forces captured one of the sons of condemned drug kingpin Joaquín”El Chapo” Guzmán.
Fighting raged for many hours following Ovidio Guzmán López was discovered during a routine patrol in the city of Culiacán. The BBC News reports:
Footage showed heavily-armed men shooting police, with automobiles, bodies and burning barricades strewn in the street.
Police withdrew without Mr Guzmán in their custody to prevent additional violence, officials said.
Mexico’s security minister, Alfonso Durazo, told Reuters news agency that a patrol of National Guard militarised police came under intense fire from beyond the home where they had situated Mr Guzmán, forcing them to escape from the building for their own security and”to regain calm in town”.
An attorney for your Guzmán family told the Associated Press (AP):”Ovidio is free and alive.”
Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he would hold a meeting of his security cabinet to discuss the event.
Mr Obrador was elected on a platform of cracking down on Mexico’s drug cartels, and has tasked with a new security force, the National Guard, together with battling them.
Under El Chapo’s leadership, the Sinaloa cartel was the largest supplier of drugs to the US, officials say.
Together with the kingpin now behind bars, the cartel is said to be partly controlled by Ovidio Guzmán Lopez, who’s accused of drug trafficking in America and considered to be in his twenties. But he’s not among El Chapo’s best-known sons.
What occurred in Culiacán?
The state government said Mr Guzmán was discovered at a home by a police patrol on a regular search.
It said cartel members subsequently launched the enormous attack in an effort to grab him back from the police. Fighters also attacked security forces in different parts of Culiacán.
Witnesses described scenes of panic in the city, a stronghold for the Sinaloa cartel, as families with small children fled from gunfire.
“No one knows what’s happening but everyone is afraid and they’ve told us not to come into work tomorrow,” Ricardo González, a town resident, told AP.
Footage on social media revealed a pickup truck with a machine gun mounted on the back, in scenes reminiscent of a war zone.
Other footage showed families scrambling to take cover under automobiles and in stores as gunfire roared. In one movie, a woman asked her dad:”Why are they shooting bullets?”
A supposed mugshot taken of Mr Guzmán while he was arrested by authorities was shared broadly on social networking.
Sinaloa nation’s head of safety, Cristobal Castañeda, told the Televisa network that two people were killed and 21 injured, based on preliminary information.
Pictures showing what seemed to be dead bodies on the streets indicate the death toll could rise.
Some police officers were injured, local officials said, but wouldn’t provide additional details.
As fighting brought the city to a standstill, the Sinaloa state authorities said an unknown number of inmates had escaped from the Aguaruto prison.
It said it was”working to restore calm and order” and called on residents to”remain calm, stay away from the roads and be very careful to official advisories on the evolving situation”.
With time, it became one of the biggest traffickers of drugs to the United States. He escaped a Mexican prison through a tunnel in 2015, but was later arrested. He was extradited to America in 2017.
He had been accused of having helped export tens of thousands of tonnes of cocaine to the united states and of conspiring to manufacture and distribute heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana.
El Chapo, 62, was found guilty in New York of 10 charges, including drug trafficking and money laundering. .