MEXICO CITY (Reuters), Jan 5 – Mexican security forces have captured Ovidio Guzman on Thursday, a son Jailer Joaquin “El Chapo”, Guzman. This triggered a wave violence in advance of the U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit next week.
Violence took place mostly in Culiacan, a city in northern Sinaloa state. This is where El Chapo was a leader of the drug cartel that controlled the area.
Ruben Rocha, the state governor, stated that seven security officers were killed, including a colonel. 21 others were also injured, along with eight civilians.
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Rocha stated that there were 12 clashes between security forces and 25 acts of looting. 250 vehicles were set on fire and used as roadblocks.
He said that “Tomorrow, we think we’ll be able to function normally,” and added that he hadn’t discussed calling in additional reinforcements from either the army or National Guard.
After the arrest of Ovidio triggered violence, the government of President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador was humiliated and forced to close Culiacan’s schools as well as its airports.
Ovidio, who had become a key figure within the cartel since his father’s arrest, was released quickly to stop violent retribution by his cartel.
Luis Cresencio Sandoval, Defense Minister, confirmed Thursday that Ovidio had been captured. Ovidio was being held at Mexico City’s capital.
Videos posted on social media but not verified by Reuters immediately showed heavy fighting in Culiacan overnight, with the sky lit by helicopter gunfire.
Aeromexico , a Mexican airline, claimed that one of its planes was struck by gunfire before it flew to Mexico City. It said that no one was injured.
David Tellez, a passenger, boarded the plane along with his wife and their three children.
He said, “The city is worse.” “There are a lot shooting and confusion.”
Federal aviation agency stated that a Mexican military plane was also hit. They added that the airport in Culiacan and the Sinaloa cities Los Mochis and Mazatlan would be closed until security can be assured.
Ovidio was captured again in front of a summit of North American leaders in Mexico City next week. The U.S. president Joe Biden will also attend the meeting and is expected to discuss security.
For information leading to Ovidio’s arrest or conviction, the United States offered a $5,000,000 reward
It is unclear if Ovidio will be extradited from Colorado to serve a life sentence at Colorado Supermax, the most secure U.S. federal jail.
An increase in deaths from overdoses in the United States due to the synthetic opioid Fentanyl has put increased pressure on Mexico for the destruction of drug-producing and shipping organizations like the Sinaloa Cartel.
The cartel is the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world.
According to Tomas Guevara (a security expert at Sinaloa’s Autonomous University of Sinaloa), the arrest will help Mexican law enforcement avoid embarrassment following Ovidio’s 2019 release.
Guevara suggested that it might signal a shift in government’s approach after being criticised by security experts for Lopez Obrador’s softening of the cartels. Guevara denies this accusation.
He claims that the previous confrontational tactics were ineffective and have only led to more bloodshed. Instead, he will pursue a strategy of “hugs, not bullets.”
RESIDENTS ARE STRONGLY ENGAGED TO STAY INDOORS
With heavily armed teams of soldiers patrolling pickup trucks, the security forces tried to manage the violent reaction to the arrest at Culiacan.
Sinaloa’s chief of public security, Cristobal Castaneda said that “we continue to work on controlling this situation.”
Authorities advised people to remain indoors, and stated that schools and administrative offices had been closed because of the violence. Street blocks were also set up.
Joaquin Guzman (65) was convicted in New York of conspiring to kill enemies and trafficking in drugs worth billions of dollars to the United States in 2019.
Eduardo Guerrero of Lantia Consulting, which analyses Mexican organized crime, stated that Mexico was likely motivated by the Biden administration’s pressure to pursue the Sinaloa Cartel.
He warned, however, that Ovidio’s capture would likely weaken the cartel but could also help its main rival, Jalisco New Generation Carttel, which is notoriously violent.
“It is very important that the government remembers that the Sinaloa Cartel’s weakening may lead to an even greater expansion and a greater presence by the Jalisco Cartel.”