Téllez turned to social media to search out out what was happening and noticed that Sinaloa’s state capital, a stronghold of the cartel by the identical title, was full of roadblocks and gunfire.
It might be hours earlier than Mexico’s protection secretary would verify that the army had captured Ovidio Guzmán, a son of the infamous former Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, on Thursday in a pre-dawn operation north of the town.
Identical to that, Culiacan was thrust right into a day of terror not like any its residents had skilled since October 2019 — the final time authorities tried to seize the younger Guzmán.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has railed towards his predecessors’ aggressive efforts to seize drug lords, however his administration bagged the high-profile cartel determine simply days earlier than internet hosting U.S. President Joe Biden, and at the least within the quick time period locals have been paying the value.
Culiacan residents posted video on social media displaying convoys of gunmen in pickup vehicles and SUVs rolling down boulevards within the metropolis. At the least one convoy included a flatbed truck with a mounted gun within the again, the identical type of car that prompted chaos and mayhem within the 2019 unrest.
All entrances to the town have been blocked and comparable acts have been enjoying out in different components of Sinaloa.
Rev. Esteban Robles, spokesman for the Roman Catholic diocese in Culiacan, stated that “there’s an environment of uncertainty, rigidity,” and that those that might have been staying inside their properties.
“A whole lot of the streets are nonetheless blocked by the automobiles that have been burned,” Robles stated.
The Culiacan municipal authorities warned: “Don’t go away residence! The security of Culiacan’s residents is a very powerful.” Colleges, native authorities and lots of non-public companies closed.
Oscar Loza, a human rights activist in Culiacan, described the scenario as tense, with some looting at shops. On the south aspect of the town, the place Loza lives, individuals reported convoys of gunmen transferring towards a army base, however Loza stated streets round his home have been eerily quiet. “You don’t hear any site visitors,” he stated.
Téllez pressed on attempting to get his household again to Mexico Metropolis, circumventing a number of extra deserted automobiles blocking roads and finally making it to the airport.
There the household hurriedly checked in for his or her flight earlier than staff of an airport restaurant urged them to shelter in a rest room. Gunmen have been arriving on the airport to forestall authorities from flying Guzmán out.
Juan Carlos Ayala, a Culiacan resident and Sinaloa College professor who research the sociology of drug trafficking, stated Ovidio Guzmán was an apparent goal at the least since 2019.
“Ovidio’s destiny had been determined. Furthermore, he was recognized as the most important trafficker of fentanyl and probably the most seen Chapos chief.” Requested how locals have been reacting to the arrest, Ayala stated “Folks have differing views, however I feel the bulk are with them” — the Sinaloa cartel.
That could be due to the cash the cartel brings to the area, but in addition as a result of locals know that even after federal troops withdraw, the cartel will nonetheless be there. As dangerous as it’s, the cartel has ensured relative stability, if not peace.
Guzmán was indicted by the US on drug trafficking costs in 2018. In response to each governments, he had assumed a rising position amongst his brothers in carrying on their father’s enterprise, together with long- time cartel boss Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.
International Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard confirmed that the federal government had obtained a request in 2019 from the US for Guzmán’s arrest for functions of extradition. He stated that request must be up to date and processed, however he added that first an open case in Mexico awaits Guzmán.
Ismael Bojorquez, director of the native information outlet Riodoce, which makes a speciality of protection of the world’s drug trafficking, stated the violent response needed to do with the president’s much less aggressive stance towards organized crime.
“They (cartels) have taken benefit of those 4 years to arrange themselves, arm themselves, strengthen their constructions, their funds,” he stated. “I consider there are extra weapons than three years in the past. All of organized crime’s armies have strengthened, not simply the Chapitos, and that is the value that society is paying for this technique of the federal authorities.”
At Culiacan’s airport, a Mexican army flight was capable of spirit Guzmán away to Mexico Metropolis. Téllez’s business flight waited for its probability to take off as two massive army planes landed with troops as did three or 4 army helicopters, and marines and troopers started deploying alongside the perimeter of the runway.
When the airline flight was lastly getting ready to speed up, Téllez heard gunshots within the distance. Inside 15 seconds the sound was abruptly extra intense and far nearer, and passengers threw themselves to the ground, he stated.
He didn’t know the airplane had been hit by gunfire till a flight attendant advised them. Nobody was injured, however the airplane swiftly retreated to the terminal.
Samuel González, who based Mexico’s particular prosecutor’s workplace for organized crime within the Nineties, stated Guzmán’s seize was a “reward” forward of Biden’s go to. The Mexican authorities “is working to have a relaxed go to,” he stated.
He referred to as the photographs that hit the business airliner “surely an act of worldwide terrorism” and instructed it might result in very severe discussions between the 2 governments in regards to the implications of those actions.
By night, Téllez remained within the terminal. The federal government had shut down the airport, in addition to airports in Los Mochis and Mazatlan for safety causes.
Requested if the try to seize Guzmán was price one other day of rigidity and uncertainty in Culiacan, Téllez stated, “In the event that they caught him, it was price it.”
Related Press writers Fabiola Sánchez and Christopher Sherman contributed to this report.