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“Everyone’s Afraid”: Mexican Cops Forced To Surrender El Chapo’s Son After Brutal Cartel Battle

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

After seeing what happened to El Chapo, Mexican's gun kingpins aren't allowing themselves to be captured quite so easily, reckoning that escaping from a maximum security cell in the states truly is impossible. An intense gunfight broke out in Culiacan, the capital of Mexico's Sinaloa State, on Friday, blocking roads and effectively paralyzing the whole city, as cartel gunmen repelled an attempt by Mexican police to capture one of the sons of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

The son is wanted in the US for drug trafficking, suspected of involvement in his father's criminal organization. Mexican Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo said 30 members of the Mexican National Guard and Army were patrolling in Culiacan when suddenly they were fired upon from a nearby house.

They managed to repel their attackers, and inside the house, they found Ovidio Guzmán López. The violence began shortly after 3:30 pm local time on Thursday.

Gunfire continued into the night, as army soldiers and cartel fighters battled in the streets, according to Bloomberg.

Finally, the government decided to return Ovidio with an eye toward "safeguarding the well-being and tranquility of Culiacan society."

"The decision was taken to retreat from the house, without Guzman, to try to avoid more violence in the area and preserve the lives of our personnel and recover calm in the city," Durazo said.

The decision was extremely humiliating for the government of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador – or AMLO, as he is better known. The president decided to end the government's more than decade-long war against the drug cartels, which cost tens of thousands of lives, hundreds of millions of dollars, and did little to stem the flow of illegal drugs into the US and around the world.

Ovidio Guzman

But as soldiers and cartel mercenaries battled in the streets of Culiacan, this improved security AMLO had promised looked like an impossible dream.

A lawyer for the Guzman family said the son was "alive and free."

José Luis González Meza, a lawyer for "El Chapo's" family, told The Associated Press that Guzmán's family has said "Ovidio is alive and free" but that he had no more details about what had happened.

Some analysts even told the NYT that they didn't believe the government's narrative that a troop of 30 national guard soldiers just happened to stumble upon Guzman. To be frank, the story doesn't sound very believable. It's far more likely that Guzman was the intended target, but that the cartel overpowered the government.

"My suspicion is that they went after him and they lost," said Eduardo Guerrero, a security analyst in Mexico City.

As the gunfire erupted, citizens fled for safety. Some filmed the violence while they were trapped in their cars.

That the government would go after the younger Guzman makes sense. The Sinaloa cartel, the organization that his father once led, has reportedly struggled to recover its composure after Guzman's arrest and imprisonment in an American Super-Max jail.

Turning back to the situation in Culiacan, a local journalist described the battle as the worst explosion of violence that he has ever witnessed.

"In my 21 years of covering crime at the heart of drug world, this has been the worst shootout and the most horrible situation I have ever encountered," said Ernesto Martínez, a local crime reporter. Ironically, Martinez was in the field reporting on a different shooting when the gunfire erupted around him. He stumbled upon an army vehicle which had stopped a car full of men carrying machine guns. Suddenly, the soldiers shouted "everybody down, shootout!"

Martinez said there were two separate shootouts. The first one lasted for 20 minutes, and was so intense that "I could almost smell the gunpowder" Martinez said.

The second battle lasted for roughly 4 hours.

Ovidio was not one of the imprisoned drug lord's most infamous sons. Both Iván Archivaldo Guzmán and Jesús Alfredo Guzmán, known as "los Chapitos," or "the little Chapos," are suspected of running the Sinaloa Cartel, along with Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada.

However, Ovidio was indicted in 2018 by a grand jury in Washington, along with a fourth brother, for trafficking cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.

Though the government did what it could to minimize the loss of life (though there was no official death toll reported in the media), many reported feeling demoralized by their government's powerlessness in the face of the cartel.

"Nothing is working," said Ricardo González, a worker in the state's congress. "There is a psychosis. No one knows what is going on but everyone is afraid and they have told us to not come in to work tomorrow."

 


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