Son of Mexican drug lord ‘El Chapo’ captured

Ovidio Guzmán López
The capture of Ovidio Guzmán López triggered heavy gun battles between suspected cartel members and the security forces across the city.

Mexican security forces have arrested one of the sons of notorious drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, local officials say.

They say this happened in the western city of Culiacán, the stronghold of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel.

The capture of Ovidio Guzmán López triggered heavy gun battles between suspected cartel members and the security forces across the city.

In July, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years in the US

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, 62, had been found guilty by a court in New York on 10 charges, including drug trafficking and money laundering.

He escaped a Mexican jail through a tunnel in 2015, but was later arrested. He was extradited to the United States in 2017.

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán is a former head of the Sinaloa cartel, which officials say was the biggest supplier of drugs to the US.

What happened in Culiacán?

Ovidio Guzmán, said to be in his 20s, is believed to have played a key role in the Sinaloa cartel, following the arrest of his father.

He is wanted in the US on several drug-related charges, Mexican media report.

The state government said Ovidio Guzmán was found in a house by a police patrol on a routine search.

It said cartel members subsequently launched the huge attack in an attempt to seize him back from the authorities.

News of his arrest on Thursday led to heavy shooting across the city, which is the capital of Sinaloa state.

The Sinaloa state government said it was “working to restore calm and order in the face of the high-impact incidents that have occurred in recent hours in various points around Culiacán”, AFP news agency reports.

There have been no official reports of fatalities, but pictures have emerged apparently showing dead bodies on the streets of the city.

Ovidio Guzmán was briefly detained before being released by the police.

What was El Chapo’s role in Mexico’s drug trade?

“El Chapo” (or “Shorty”) ran the Sinaloa cartel across northern Mexico.

Over time, it became one of the biggest traffickers of drugs to the US. In 2009, Guzmán entered Forbes’ list of the world’s richest men at number 701, with an estimated worth of $1bn (£775m).

He was accused of having helped export hundreds of tonnes of cocaine into the US and of conspiring to manufacture and distribute heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana.

He was also said to have used hitmen to carry out “hundreds” of murders, assaults, kidnappings and acts of torture on rivals.

Key associates, including one former lieutenant, testified against Guzmán.

‘City under siege’

By BBC Mexico correspondent Will Grant

The commercial district of Culiacán resembled a battlefield with cars and jeeps set on fire and a large deployment of military vehicles.

Panic spread in the city as sustained fighting took place between scores of cartel gunmen – in pick-up trucks with machine guns mounted on them – and a large deployment of police and the military.

In the middle of the chaos, a jail break involving a number of prisoners also apparently took place in the city as the cartel tried to sow greater confusion in the effort to recover their leader.

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