Ovidio Guzmán, nicknamed “the Mouse,” had not been one among 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 army to let him go.
Thursday’s high-profile seize comes simply days earlier than López Obrador will host U.S. 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 predicted to be a prime speaking level.
“It is a important blow to the Sinaloa cartel and main victory for the rule of regulation. It won’t, nevertheless, impede the movement of medicine into the U.S. Hopefully, Mexico will extradite him to the U.S.,” Mike Vigil, the DEA’s former Chief of Worldwide Operations, stated Thursday.
Vigil stated that Ovidio Guzmán was concerned in all the cartel’s actions, particularly the manufacturing of fentanyl. A 2018 federal indictment in Washington, D.C., accused the youthful Guzmán of conspiring to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana in the USA.
The CDC stated final July that greater than 107,000 People had died from a drug overdose through the 12 months 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 often 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 army, disbanding the corrupt Federal Police and creating the Nationwide Guard underneath army command.
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 home made armor, and instantly coordinated with the military as they established a fringe across the suspicious automobiles and compelled the occupants out to be searched.
The safety forces then got here underneath fireplace, however have been in a position to achieve management of the scenario and determine 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 Power was in a position to fly Guzmán to Mexico Metropolis regardless of their efforts, and he was taken to places of work of the Legal professional Basic’s organized crime particular prosecutor.
Sandoval stated Guzmán was a frontrunner of a Sinaloa faction he known as “los menores” or “the juniors,” who’re often known 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 working cartel operations along with Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.
The Chapitos have been taking larger management within the cartel as a result of Zambada was unwell and remoted within the mountains, Vigil stated. “The Chapitos know that if el Mayo dies, (the cartel) goes to interrupt aside in the event that they don’t have management.”
“It’s going to be crucial that the U.S. requests Ovidio’s extradition shortly and that Mexico does it,” Vigil stated.
U.S. Homeland Safety Investigations had posted a $5 million reward for info resulting in the arrest and/or conviction of Guzmán early final 12 months.
Alleged cartel members responded to Thursday’s operation by carjacking Culiacan residents and setting automobiles ablaze within the cartel stronghold. Native and state authorities warned everybody to remain inside.
Intermittent gunfire continued into the afternoon Thursday 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.
Airline Aeromexico stated in a press release that one among its jets was struck by a bullet 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 secure.
Later, Mexico’s Civil Aviation Company stated in a press release that an air drive 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 youngsters, 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 army planes carrying personnel landed in addition to three or 4 army 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 instantly 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 advised them. The airplane shortly returned to the terminal and so they have been hustled right into a room. Late Thursday afternoon they have been nonetheless within the airport, not sure of once they would be capable of return to Mexico Metropolis.
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 present them their automotive keys.”
Later, Vizcarra reported that they’d taken his cellphone, however he had made it house safely.
Such makes an attempt to create chaos usually are available response to arrests of necessary cartel figures in Mexico. One of the vital 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 crucial of the toll of his predecessors’ drug conflict. He embraced the phrase “hugs, not bullets” to explain his strategy to Mexico’s continual violence, which might give attention to social packages geared toward weakening the draw of organized crime.
However 4 years into his six-year time period, the loss of life toll stays excessive.
In July, Mexico captured Rafael Caro Quintero, as soon as one of many godfathers of drug trafficking and the person allegedly answerable 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 prepared to go after high-profile cartel bosses once more, one thing López Obrador had been detest to do.
Related Press author Fabiola Sánchez contributed to this report.