Photo: Getty Images
  /  01.06.2023

On Thursday (Jan. 5), Mexican officials took Ovidio Guzmán, the son of renowned (yet jailed) drug cartel kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, into custody. The arrest has subsequently caused a wave of violence in Sinaloa state and surrounding areas, just days before President Biden is expected to visit.

In a statement to Reuters, Sinaloa state Governor Ruben Rocha informed the outlet that since Ovidio’s detainment, seven members of Mexico’s security forces have been killed and 21 others were injured. The area where Ovidio was captured was previously run by El Chapo’s notorious Sinaloa Cartel. In addition to the deaths and injuries, authorities have recorded 25 acts of looting, and approximately 250 vehicles have been set on fire and used as roadblocks. The city of Culiacan is also facing violence that has prompted residents to stay put and schools and businesses to close their doors.

Ovidio was also arrested in 2019, but Mexican officials quickly had a change of heart when they were repeatedly involved in attacks from the cartel. He was released shortly after. Following yesterday’s capture, the backlash has been so severe that even local airports have been affected. An Aeromexico plane in Culiacan was struck with bullets. One video shared on Twitter showed passengers on a plane ducking for cover as gunshots from outside the aircraft were heard. “In an act of terrorism, a war has broken out between Mexican Defense Forces and the Sinaloa Cartel in Culiacan in response to the arrest of El Chapo’s son… The cartel has now been shooting at commercial airliners with 50-caliber weapons; some arguing [they were] provided by the ATF,” the verified post read.

Born in 1957, El Chapo is widely considered one of the most powerful drug traffickers of all time. The infamous cartel leader even had a self-titled crime series on Netflix that lasted three seasons after its 2017 debut. In August 2022, 50 Cent announced a project tentatively called “Cuate/Twin: The Downfall of El Chapo.” It will feature interviews with the Flores brothers, two individuals who worked in the cartel leader’s inner circle and helped authorities take him down. In 2019, the kingpin was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years for his involvement in various crimes. Ovidio is said to have taken his father’s place since then.

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