Mexico’s military has transported Ovidio Guzmán, son of convicted crime boss Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, to Mexico City after his arrest on Thursday morning triggered violence in the Pacific Coast state of Sinaloa.
Guzmán, known as ‘El Ratón’, was captured in a hamlet on the outskirts of Culiacán, the state capital, with a video on social media showing a helicopter opening fire on a residence.
He was previously arrested in October 2019, but soldiers were forced to surrender him after gunmen caused chaos in Culiacán. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has repeatedly played down the botched raid, saying he ordered Guzmán released to save lives.
Cartel gunmen on Thursday once again burnt buses, blocked roads and closed the airport after Guzmán’s arrest. “Given the events that are taking place in Culiacán, I ask the citizens to remain calm and take shelter in their homes,” Sinaloa governor Rubén Rocha Moya wrote on Twitter.
Videos on social media showed gunmen bursting into the city’s airport and passengers on an Aeromexico flight cowering onboard. The airline said a bullet struck a plane, forcing the cancellation of a Mexico City flight.
The arrest comes ahead of US president Joe Biden’s first visit to Mexico as part of the North American leaders’ summit on January 9-10, where security will be among issues discussed.
Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said US officials had requested Guzmán’s arrest since 2019. “There’s no connection between the police operation and the summit,” he told reporters.
The elder Guzmán is serving a life sentence in a US prison after his 2019 conviction on drug-trafficking, weapons and other charges.