The Mexican army have captured Ovidio Guzmán, an alleged major fentanyl trafficker and son of kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo‘ Guzmán.
Wild scenes erupted in Sinaloa as news of the arrest spread through the city, just days before U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to make his first visit to Mexico.
The arrest in Culiacan comes three years after the Mexican army detained Guzmán but then released him after Sinaloa cartel gunmen seized control of much of the city.
The October 2019 release orders came from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in a bid to avoid further bloodshed at the time.
The Mexican army have captured Ovidio Guzmán, an alleged major fentanyl trafficker and son of kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán
The Mexican president, who had taken office in 2018 pledging to replace the ‘war on drugs’ with a policy using social programs to tackle organized crime, was widely criticized for giving up the alleged trafficker.
The U.S. government has sought the extradition of Guzmán, one of several sons of ‘El Chapo’ who have allegedly assumed prominent roles in the Sinaloa cartel since their father was extradited to the United States in 2017.
Mexican authorities have accused the younger Guzmán of being a key figure in fentanyl trafficking – a synthetic drug blamed for tens of thousands of deaths in the United States.
Gunfire and car-jackings have been reported in the city as word spread of Guzmán’s arrest.
Mayor Juan de Dios Gamez confirmed on Twitter that federal armed forces have been carrying out an operation in Culiacán since dawn on Thursday and that this has prompted violence in the city and other parts of the state.
‘We ask the citizens of Culiacán not to leave home due to the blockades that have occurred in different parts of the city,’ he said.
The Mexican government has told local media that they are urging residents to stay home as burning vehicles, shootings and blockades are seen across the city
Vehicles remain ablaze in Sinaloa after news spread of Guzmán arrest, the videos uploaded to twitter by local media and residents of the city
Videos of helicopter attacks on the Sinaloa cartel were posted online when the operation to catch the wanted alleged drug trafficker started in the early hours of Thursday.
As the day progressed, convoys of what have been described to be Sinaloa cartel members were filmed setting up roadblocks along highways after the military captured Guzmán.
In videos uploaded to twitter, members of the international organized crime syndicate, are seen sitting in vehicles and armed.
The syndicate have also been filmed shooting from the ground with 50-caliber BMG’s at Mexican Armed Forces aircraft.
While the moments of terror and anguish experienced by passengers on an Aeroméxico flight after their arrival in Culiacán following the capture of Guzmán were also uploaded online.
The Mexican government has told local media that they are urging residents to stay home as burning vehicles, shootings and blockades continue across the city.
Convoys of what have been described to be Sinaloa cartel members were filmed setting up roadblocks along highways after the military captured Guzmán
Moments of terror and anguish were experienced by passengers on an Aeroméxico flight after their arrival in Culiacán following the capture of Guzmán
The US State Department claims that Guzmán and his brother, Joaquín, are currently overseeing approximately eleven methamphetamine labs in the state of Sinaloa.
It’s said they are producing an estimated 3000-5000 pounds of the drug per month.
The department have also claimed that information indicates Guzmán ordered the murders of informants, a drug trafficker and a popular Mexican singer who had refused to sing at his wedding, according to reports by BBC.
In December, the US announced a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Guzmán and three of his brothers, who are thought to have kept their positions of command in the group.
Their father, ‘El Chapo,’ is meanwhile serving a life sentence in the US after being found guilty in 2019 of drug trafficking and money laundering.
The Guzmán family have a long history of escaping capture by the Mexican authorities.
‘El Chapo’ broke out of prison twice. Federal prosecutors in the U.S. claim his sons helped orchestrate the infamous escape.
In 2015, ‘El Chapo’ escaped from a maximum-security detention center through a mile-long tunnel dug into the shower of his cell.
Mexican security forces had previously arrested Guzmán in 2019 but released him to avoid the threat of violence from his supporters
The arrest was confirmed by a senior Mexican security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in advance of an official announcement and comes just days before U.S. President Joe Biden’s first visit to Mexico this year
Sinaloa is one of the 31 states which comprises the Federal Entities of Mexico and is divided into 18 municipalities. Its capital city is Culiacán Rosales.
It’s also home to the Sinaloa Cartel which has significantly influenced the culture of the region.
The cartel is reportedly the largest drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime syndicate in the Americas and based in the city of Culiacán.
Biden plans to visit the southern border with Mexico on Sunday, for the first time since taking office, according to an administration official to ABC News.
The U.S. president will visit El Paso, Texas, ‘to address border enforcement operations and meet with local officials, who have been important partners in managing the historic number of migrants fleeing political oppression and gang violence in Venezuela, Haiti, Nicaragua and Cuba,’ the official said.
Since becoming president, Republicans have hammered Biden on his handling of immigration and the persistent migrant crisis at the southern border, making it a top campaign issue in last year’s midterm elections.
Despite that pressure, Biden has resisted calls to actually visit the border.
Biden had already planned to visit Mexico City on Monday and Tuesday to meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The North American Leaders Summit will focus on climate change, migration, the environment, the economy and other topics, the White House told the outlet.