Authorities in Mexico arrested Ovidio Guzman on Thursday. He is the commander of a drug cartel and the son of imprisoned kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. This comes just one week before Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Mexico.
The arrest of Ovidio came three years after a previous attempt to apprehend him ended in embarrassment for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s administration, and it set off a wave of violence that caused authorities to down airports and schools in the city of Culiacan.
At a press briefing, Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval announced the seizure of a 32-year-old top member of the Sinaloa Cartel. According to Sandoval, Ovidio, who had evaded capture since the initial attempt, was captured in the nation’s capital.
Social media videos appeared to show intense combat in Culiacan, the capital city of the northern state of Sinaloa, late at night, with helicopter gunfire lighting up the sky. Reuters was unable to independently verify these claims.
The government of Sinaloa stated that three police officers were murdered during the fighting.
A Mexican airline, reported that one of its planes was damaged by gunfire before taking off for a flight to Mexico City as the city descended into chaos. According to the report, nobody got wounded.
The Mexican federal aviation agency reported that a Mexican air force plane had also been targeted by gunfire and that the airports in Culiacan, Mazatlan, and Los Mochis in Sinaloa would remain closed until security could be guaranteed.
Since the arrest of his father, Ovidio has risen to prominence within the cartel. He was detained in 2019 but freed soon to prevent his cartel from exacting violent revenge in Culiacan. The episode was a public relations disaster for Lopez Obrador’s administration.
Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States, will be attending a meeting of North American leaders in Mexico City next week, where security will undoubtedly be a hot topic.
The United States government had previously offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Ovidio’s capture and conviction.
Whether or not Ovidio will be extradited to the United States like his father, who is currently serving a life sentence in the most security federal prison in the United States located in Colorado’s Supermax, remains to be seen.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard noted that any extradition would take time and require legal procedures.
Increased pressure has been placed on Mexico to confront the organisations, like as the Sinaloa Cartel, responsible for the production and shipment of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which has contributed to a rise in overdose deaths in the United States.
The drug cartel is among the most influential criminal networks in the world.
According to Tomas Guevara, a security analyst from the Autonomous University of Sinaloa, the arrest of Guzman helps save face for Mexican law enforcement following the escape of El Chapo’s son in 2019.
He claimed, “Ovidio’s detention is the culmination of a plan drawn up three years ago.”
Guevara further speculated that this could signal a shift in government policy in the face of widespread claims from security professionals that Lopez Obrador has been too lenient on drug gangs.
The president has stated that he will follow a policy of “hugs not bullets,” arguing that his predecessors’ combative tactics backfired and led to more carnage.