A son of imprisoned drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was apprehended by Mexican security forces on Thursday, resulting in a high-profile victory in the war against strong cartels just days before US President Joe Biden’s visit.
Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval informed reporters that Ovidio Guzman, also known as “El Raton” (The Mouse), was apprehended in the northwest city of Culiacan and transported to Mexico City on a military aircraft.
He claimed that six months of intelligence effort were put into finding the 32-year-old, who is supposed to have assisted in managing his father’s operations ever since “El Chapo” was deported to the US in 2017.
Ovidio Guzman was alleged to be a key member of the famed Sinaloa cartel, and the United States had offered a reward of up to $5 million for information that would result in his detention.
After the arrest, gunfire and arson rattled Culiacan. The arrest comes as Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gears up to welcome Vice President Joe Biden next week for a North American leaders’ conference in Mexico City, where security is anticipated to be a top priority.
The violence resulted in the cancellation of sporting events in Culiacan and at least 18 injuries, according to Ruben Rocha, governor of Sinaloa state.
As Guzman’s henchmen reacted with fury, a passenger jet was hit by a bullet in its fuselage as it was preparing to take off from Culiacan airport, but there were no injuries, the airline Aeromexico said.
“El Chapo” is serving a life prison sentence in the United States for trafficking hundreds of tons of drugs into the US over the course of 25 years.
His cartel is still among the most powerful in Mexico, but Washington accuses it of using the opioid crisis as cover to saturate neighborhoods with fentanyl, a synthetic drug that is approximately 50 times more potent than heroin.
According to the US State Department, Ovidio Guzman and one of his brothers are accused of managing up to a dozen methamphetamine manufacturing facilities in Sinaloa as well as planning to traffic in cocaine and marijuana.
Additionally, it claimed that he gave the go-ahead to kill informants, a drug dealer, and a Mexican musician who declined to sing at his wedding.