Mexican authorities have arrested Ovidio Guzmán, son of notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, sparking widespread violence just days before President Joe Biden‘s scheduled visit to the embattled Central American country.
According to a press release issued by the United States State Department on December 16, Ovidio is “a high-ranking member of the Sinaloa Cartel,” and was involved in all of the cartel’s activities, especially the production of fentanyl.
News Of “El Chapo’s” Son’s Arrest Sparks Violence, Forcing Officials To Implement Shelter At Home
News of Ovidio’s arrest sparked violence across the city, forcing local officials to tell citizens to shelter at home amid clashes with cartel members in various parts of Culiacán.
According to AP News, cartel members set up 19 roadblocks throughout the city, including one at Culiacan’s airport and outside the local army base, as well as at all points of access to the city of Culiacan.
However the Air Force was still able to fly Ovidio to Mexico City despite their efforts.
Ovidio, nicknamed “the Mouse,” had been previously arrested by federal authorities in October 2019, but was released on the orders of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to avoid further bloodshed.
Arrest Comes Just Days Before President Biden’s Scheduled Arrival In Mexico For Bilateral Talks
Meanwhile, Thursday’s high-profile capture comes just days before President López Obrador will host U.S. President Joe Biden for bilateral talks followed by their North American Leaders’ Summit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Drug trafficking, along with immigration, are expected to be top talking points, according to the Associated Press.
“This is a significant blow to the Sinaloa cartel and major victory for the rule of law. It will not, however, impede the flow of drugs into the U.S. Hopefully, Mexico will extradite him to the U.S.,” Mike Vigil, the DEA’s former Chief of International Operations, said Thursday.
The 12-hour standoff between security forces and drug cartel militants in Culiacan, Mexico, over the arrest of Ovidio Guzman Lopez, the son of the drug lord Shorty, is coming to an end, 27 people (at least 3 civilians) were injured, a national guardsman was killed. pic.twitter.com/gUXQhJlmZs
— Sophia Lambert (@DV16FDS5V) January 6, 2023
Vigil went on to say that Ovidio was involved in all of the cartel’s activities, namely the production of fentanyl. A 2018 federal indictment filed in Washington, D.C., accused the younger Guzmán of conspiring to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana in the United States, the Associated Press reports.
The study by non-governmental organization Causa en Comun counted 5,463 victims from 3,123 events in a total of 2,657 news articles through the first half of 2022. That is an 18 percent increase compared to the same time in 2021.
Arrest Of “El Chapo’s” Son Leads To Violent Cartel Response, Residents Urged To Remain Inside
Last July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said over 107,000 Americans died from a drug overdose during the year ending January 2022, the majority of which involved opioids including illegally-made fentanyl.
Early last year, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations had posted a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Guzmán.
Meanwhile, cartel members responded to Ovidio’s arrest on Thursday by carjacking vehicles of Culiacan residents and setting them ablaze in the cartel stronghold., as local and state authorities warned residents to remain inside.
Gunfire continued well into Thursday afternoon in Culiacan while Mexican authorities clashed with cartel members.
Ovidio’s father, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, is currently serving a life sentence in the U.S. after being found guilty in 2019 of drug trafficking and money laundering.
Like his son, the elder Guzmán had escaped prior to formal sentencing in 2015 via a tunnel dug by associates into his jail cell. Mexican authorities eventually recaptured him following a shoot-out in January 2016, and extradited him to the U.S. a year later.