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Gun battles sweep Culiacan after troops locate Chapo’s son

AndreS Villarreal and MariA Verza, The Associated Press


Published Friday, October 18, 2019 1:46AM EDT


Last Updated Friday, October 18, 2019 2:16AM EDT

CULIACAN, Mexico — An intense gunfight with heavy weapons and burning automobiles blocking roads paralyzed the capital of Mexico’s Sinaloa state Thursday after safety forces situated one in all Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s sons who is needed within the U.S. on drug trafficking costs.

Mexican safety secretary Alfonso Durazo mentioned 30 members of the National Guard and military have been patrolling in Culiacan after they have been fired on from a home. They repelled the assault and inside the home discovered Ovidio Guzman Lopez.

The home was then surrounded by closely armed gunmen who had “a greater force” and authorities determined to droop the operation, Durazo mentioned. He didn’t say if Ovidio Guzman was arrested or went free.

“With the goal of safeguarding the well-being and tranquility of Culiacan society, officials in the security cabinet decided to suspend the actions,” mentioned Durazo.

Jose Luis Gonzalez Meza, a lawyer for “El Chapo’s” household, advised The Associated Press that Guzman’s household has mentioned “Ovidio is alive and free” however that he had no extra particulars about what had occurred.

Ovidio was not one of many jailed Mexican drug lord’s best-known sons – Ivan Archivaldo Guzman and Jesus Alfredo Guzman are often known as “los Chapitos,” or “the little Chapos,” and are believed to at present run their father’s Sinaloa Cartel along with Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

But Ovidio Guzman was indicted in 2018 by a grand jury in Washington, together with a fourth brother, for the alleged trafficking of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.

Following Thursday’s localization of Ovidio Guzman, Culiacan exploded in violence with armed civilians in vehicles roaring by way of town’s centre capturing what seemed to be .50-calibre sniper rifles and machine-guns.

Videos revealed on social media confirmed a scene resembling a conflict zone, with gunmen, some carrying black ski masks over their faces, using at the back of vehicles firing mounted machine-guns as automobiles burned. People may very well be seen operating for canopy as machinegun hearth rattled round them. Drivers drove in reverse frantically to get away from the clashes.

“Nothing is working,” mentioned Ricardo Gonzalez, a employee within the state’s congress who shut himself up in his home after choosing up his 15-year-old son from college. “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.”

Sinaloa public security director Cristobal Castaneda advised Milenio tv that there have been folks wounded however didn’t present a casualty determine. He didn’t rule out that there have been deaths.

Castaneda mentioned gunmen blocked streets with burning automobiles, a typical tactic to make it tough for safety forces to manoeuvr. Simultaneously, some 20 to 30 prisoners escaped although some have been shortly recaptured, he mentioned.

State officers requested residents to keep away from going out in elements of metropolis.

Sinaloa’s soccer membership Dorados introduced that it had cancelled its sport Thursday on account of safety considerations.

Gov. Quirino Ordaz confirmed that college courses had been suspended however that companies would open on Friday.

Gonzalez, nonetheless, doubted this.

“There is no public transportation, no taxis, people outside the city remain blocked outside and tomorrow will be the same,” he mentioned, including that Culiacan had not seen such a scene for nearly a decade, when the Sinaloa Cartel was experiencing an inner conflict.

Sinaloa is house to the cartel by the identical title, which was led by “El Chapo” Guzman. Guzman was sentenced to life in jail within the United States in July. He has many youngsters.

After Guzman’s third arrest in 2016, an inner battle for succession started enjoying out. The battle was resolved with the arrest of Damaso Lopez Nunez and his son Damaso Lopez Serrano, who led a rival faction.

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Associated Press author Maria Verza reported from Mexico City.

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