The pre-dawn operation on Thursday set off gunfights and roadblocks throughout the western state’s capital.
Defence Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval stated Military and Nationwide Guard personnel had captured a son of “El Chapo”, figuring out him solely as Ovidio, in step with authorities coverage.
Ovidio Guzmán, nicknamed “the Mouse”, had not been one in all El Chapo’s better-known sons till an aborted operation to seize him three years in the past.
That try equally set off violence in Culiacan that in the end led President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to order the navy to let him go.
Thursday’s high-profile seize comes simply days earlier than López Obrador will host US President Joe Biden for bilateral talks adopted by their North American Leaders’ Summit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Drug trafficking, together with immigration, is anticipated to be a prime speaking level.
“This can be a important blow to the Sinaloa cartel and main victory for the rule of regulation. It is not going to, nevertheless, impede the circulation of medicine into the US. Hopefully, Mexico will extradite him to the US,” Mike Vigil, the DEA’s former chief of worldwide operations, stated on Thursday.
Vigil stated Ovidio Guzmán was concerned in the entire cartel’s actions, particularly the manufacturing of fentanyl.
A 2018 federal indictment in Washington, DC, accused the youthful Guzmán of conspiring to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana in the US.
The CDC stated final July that greater than 107,000 Individuals had died from a drug overdose in the course of the yr ending January 2022, most of them involving opioids together with illegally made fentanyl.
López Obrador’s safety strategy reversed years of what got here to be generally known as the kingpin technique of taking down cartel leaders, which led to the fragmentation of enormous cartels and bloody battles for dominance.
López Obrador put all his religion within the navy, disbanding the corrupt Federal Police and creating the Nationwide Guard underneath navy command.
SUVs noticed with selfmade armour
The seize was the results of six months of reconnaissance and surveillance within the cartel’s territory, after which fast motion on Thursday, Sandoval stated.
Nationwide Guard troops noticed SUVs, some with selfmade armour, and instantly coordinated with the military as they established a fringe across the suspicious autos and compelled the occupants out to be searched.
The safety forces then got here underneath fireplace, however have been capable of achieve management of the scenario and establish Guzmán amongst these current and in possession of firearms, Sandoval stated.
Cartel members arrange 19 roadblocks together with at Culiacan’s airport and out of doors the native military base, in addition to all factors of entry to the town of Culiacan, Sandoval stated, however the Air Drive was capable of fly Guzmán to Mexico Metropolis regardless of their efforts, and he was taken to workplaces of the lawyer normal’s organised crime particular prosecutor.
Sandoval stated Guzmán was a pacesetter of a Sinaloa faction he referred to as “los menores” or “the juniors”, who’re also referred to as “los Chapitos”, for the sons of El Chapo.
Different “little Chapos” embody two of his brothers — Iván Archivaldo Guzmán and Jesús Alfredo Guzmán — who’re believed to have been operating cartel operations along with Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.
The Chapitos have been taking higher management within the cartel as a result of Zambada was sick and remoted within the mountains, Vigil stated.
“The Chapitos know that if El Mayo dies, (the cartel) goes to interrupt aside if they do not have management,” he stated.
“It should be crucial that the US requests Ovidio’s extradition shortly and that Mexico does it.”
US Homeland Safety Investigations had posted a $US5 million ($7.4 million) reward for info resulting in the arrest and/or conviction of Guzmán early final yr.
Alleged cartel members responded to Thursday’s operation by carjacking Culiacan residents and setting autos ablaze within the cartel stronghold. Native and state authorities warned everybody to remain inside.
Intermittent gunfire continued into the afternoon on Thursday (Friday AEDT) in Culiacan as Mexican safety forces continued to conflict with cartel gunmen and few folks ventured out. Airports there and in a number of different Sinaloa cities remained closed.
Passenger airplane hit with bullet in operation
Airline Aeromexico stated in an announcement that one in all its jets was struck by a bullet on Thursday morning because it ready for takeoff.
Passenger video posted on-line confirmed folks cowering on the ground of the airplane.
The corporate stated passengers and crew have been protected.
Later, Mexico’s Civil Aviation Company stated in an announcement that an air power airplane in Culiacan had additionally been hit with gunfire.
Along with the Culiacan airport, the company stated airports in Los Mochis and Mazatlan have been additionally ordered closed and all flights cancelled for safety causes.
David Téllez was aboard that flight along with his spouse and kids, getting ready to return to Mexico Metropolis after visiting his in-laws.
Their airplane had been ready for its likelihood to take off as two giant navy planes carrying personnel landed in addition to three or 4 navy helicopters.
Marines and troopers deployed alongside the perimeter of the runway.
When the industrial flight was lastly getting ready to speed up, Téllez heard gunshots within the distance.
Inside 15 seconds the sounds have been abruptly extra intense.
“We heard gunshots and threw ourselves to the ground,” he stated.
He didn’t know the airplane had been hit till a flight attendant informed them.
The airplane shortly returned to the terminal they usually have been hustled right into a room.
Late Thursday afternoon they have been nonetheless within the airport, uncertain of after they would be capable to return to Mexico Metropolis.
Resort company ‘threatened’
Elsewhere in Culiacan, native reporter Marcos Vizcarra had sought shelter in a lodge after gunmen stole his automotive.
Then he defined by way of Twitter that armed males had entered the lodge the place he had sought shelter “and are threatening company to offer them their automotive keys”.
Later, Vizcarra reported that they’d taken his cellphone, however he had made it residence safely.
Such makes an attempt to create chaos usually are available response to arrests of essential cartel figures in Mexico.
Some of the infamous got here when federal safety forces cornered Ovidio Guzmán in October 2019, solely to let him escape after gunmen shot up the town with high-powered weapons.
López Obrador stated on the time he had made the choice to keep away from the lack of life.
López Obrador entered workplace extremely important of the toll of his predecessors’ drug conflict.
He embraced the phrase “hugs, not bullets” to explain his strategy to Mexico’s power violence, which might deal with social applications aimed toward weakening the draw of organised crime.
However 4 years into his six-year time period, the demise toll stays excessive.
In July, Mexico captured Rafael Caro Quintero, as soon as one of many godfathers of drug trafficking and the person allegedly liable for the homicide of a DEA agent greater than three a long time in the past, simply days after López Obrador met with Biden on the White Home.
On the time, the seize was seen as a sign that Mexico might be keen to go after high-profile cartel bosses once more, one thing López Obrador had been detest to do.