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Sinaloa, Mexico erupts into violence after son of El Chapo arrested

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Ovidio “The Mouse” Guzman, the leader of the vicious Sinaloa drug cartel and son of jailed former cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, was arrested during a raid on Thursday. During the operation, 19 cartel members and 10 military members were killed and approximately 50 injured in the fighting; 21 cartel members were also captured.

Guzman, 32, considered the largest Fentanyl dealer in Mexico, was captured in an early morning raid on a house he was staying in on Thursday. He was then quickly flown by helicopter to Mexico City, where he was placed in a maximum security prison. 

During the raid, cartel members opened fire on Mexican troops with six .50 caliber machine guns. Cartel members then attacked the army and law enforcement personnel with 25 trucks, most of which had machine guns mounted in the rear.

The Mexican Army responded by sending in Blackhawk helicopter gunships that strafed the cartel gun trucks. Heavy return fire forced two of the gunships to set down with significant damage.

Scores of cartel members then targeted military and civilian aircraft at the Culiacan international airport in western Sinaloa believing that that’s where Guzman would be transported from. Airport buildings and one civilian airliner with passengers on board were damaged. Aeromexico reported that no one was injured. 

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Guzman is wanted by the US

Ovidio Guzman is wanted by the United Stes. (Homeland Security Investigations)

Ovidio Guzman was first arrested in 2019, the Sinaloa cartel went on a rampage shooting up government and civilian buildings and threatening kidnappings.

President Lopez Obrador’s government buckled under the pressure, and Guzman was released. He tried to justify his actions saying that “The situation turned very bad, and lots of citizens were at risk, lots of people, and it was decided to protect the life of the people. You cannot value the life of a delinquent more than the lives of the people.”

It was a national humiliation for Lopez Obrador and the Mexican government, and essentially an admission that they have no power over the areas where the cartels are based.

Related: How Colombia’s drug cartels almost bought a Soviet submarine

According to the State Department, the Sinaloa Cartel has at least 11 methamphetamine labs in the Sinaloa province. Fentanyl and methamphetamines are being shipped across the border to the U.S., where the former drug has been taking a toll on Americans

Ovidio Guzman’s recent arrest came just days before President Biden visited Mexico for a meeting with regional leaders for the North American Leaders Summit.

A Mexican City federal judge halted Guzman’s extradition to the United States and then ordered Guzmán to stay in 60 days of preventive detention at the same Altiplano prison where his father, El Chapo, had escaped from. The judge ruled that the stay in Altiplano prison was for an extradition hearing to take place. 

The Mexican government said that the timing of the raid and arrest of Guzman had nothing to do with President Biden’s arrival. But it is a way for the Lopez Obrador government to show that they are in charge of the region and that they can move against the drug cartels. 

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Steve Balestrieri