Violence has erupted in the streets of Culiacán, Sinaloa, as Mexican security forces battle cartel gunmen. The military took the son of El Chapo into custody. You can see photos and videos of the violence in Culiacán, the largest city in Sinaloa, throughout this article.
However, Reuters has now confirmed that El Chapo’s son, Ovidio Guzman Lopez, was released. “Ovidio Guzmán López, son of Joaquín ‘Chapo’ Guzmán, was released despite being identified by federal elements in a subdivision in Culiacán, which led to clashes in that city of Sinaloa,” El Diario also reported.
“Heavily armed cartel fighters surrounded security forces and made them free one of drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s sons, whose brief apprehension triggered intense gunbattles across the city of Culiacan,” the site reported. Ovidio, nicknamed The Mouse, is sometimes considered to be part of a group of El Chapo sons known as “Los Chapitos” who are believed to be in control of the Sinaloa Cartel, although he’s not considered as powerful as his brothers Ivan and Jesus. Other sites, such as AP, label only Ivan and Jesus Los Chapitos, though (Little Chapos.)
Ovidio is one of the four children El Chapo had with the second of his three wives, Griselda Lopez Perez, who is believed by the U.S. government to be heavily involved in the cartel.
According to AZCentral, the “extended gun battle with high-caliber weapons” unfolded on Thursday, October 17, 2019 throughout the streets of Culiacán, and the city was ringed with burning vehicles. “Heavily armed civilians in trucks” opened fire with sniper rifles and machine guns. Mexican security forces blocked entrance to the city and were there in force, the site reported.
However, El Horizonte then reported, “They leave (him) free. After clashes, the decision was made to release Ovidio Guzmán, son of #Chapo and thus try to avoid more violence.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Mexican Officials Confirmed the Arrest of El Chapo’s Son in a News Conference
Riodoce, a Spanish-language publication based in Culiacan, had reported that the Secretary of Public Security and Citizen Protection, Alfonso Durazo “confirmed the arrest of Ovidio Guzmán López son of Joaquín el Chapo Guzmán this Thursday in Culiacán.” However, as noted, he was released shortly thereafter.
El Chapo’s son was arrested “inside a house located in the Tres Ríos Urban Development,” the Sinaloa-based publication stated. Here’s the press conference that officials gave.
Riodoce reported that at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, “a patrol composed of 30 elements of the National Guard and Sedena were carrying out a routine patrol at the Tres Ríos subdivision in Culiacan, Sinaloa, when they were attacked from a home. Patrol personnel repelled the aggression and took control of the house, locating four occupants inside.” One was El Chapo’s son.
Riodoce also reported, in a different article, that the city was consumed by “shootings and roadblocks that began in Culiacán after the capture of Ovidio Guzmán López, heir to Joaquín Guzmán Loera, el Chapo, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel already detained in the United States.”
The violence was fairly widespread, according to Riodoce; “in the municipality of El Fuerte, about 50 kilometers to the northeast, subjects shot at the headquarters of the municipal police,” the site reported.
The Guardian reported that “masked gunmen threw up burning barricades and traded gunfire with security forces.”
According to Guardian, photos emerged showing Ovidio “in detention in a light blue shirt, with what appeared to be religious medallions around his neck.”
Who is this son of El Chapo? Ovidio Guzmán López, 28, is one of the four children born to the drug lord’s second marriage. He and his brother Joaquín Guzmán López are named in a U.S. cocaine trafficking indictment, Guardian reported.
A February 2019 press release from the U.S. Department of Justice reported that “An indictment against Joaquin Guzman Lopez and Ovidio Guzman Lopez, charging them with a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana for importation into the United States was unsealed last week. The Guzman Lopez brothers, believed to currently reside in Mexico, are the sons of Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka ‘El Chapo,’ who was convicted by a jury in the Eastern District of New York for his role as the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.”
Ovidio Guzman Lopez Was Indicted by the U.S. Government for Alleged Cocaine Trafficking
The U.S. indictment further alleges that “Joaquin Guzman Lopez, 34, and Ovidio Guzman Lopez, 28, are charged in a one-count indictment alleging that from in or around April 2008, through April 2018, they conspired to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana from Mexico and elsewhere for importation into the United States. This case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras.”
You can read the actual indictment here.
“This case is also the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), a partnership that brings together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state, and local enforcement agencies,” the U.S. DOJ release states.
“The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, dismantle, and prosecute high-level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations and enterprises.”
The unrest in the streets on October 17, 2019 even led to some prisoners escaping. “We are trying to recover the security of the city of Culiacan,” Quirino Ordaz Coppel, the governor of Sinaloa, wrote on Twitter. “I am asking you all to stay safe and be vigilant.”
El Chapo, of course, is serving a life prison term with no possibility of parole in a U.S. prison.
READ NEXT: Ovidio Guzman Lopez, El Chapo’s Son.