Mexico was thrown into turmoil on Thursday as violence erupted in the wake of the arrest of Ovidio Guzman, a leading member of the notorious Sinaloa cartel and son of "El Chapo" Guzman. Following the arrest, which took place in the northern state of Sinaloa, the powerful cartel unleashed a wave of destruction in and around the capital, Culiacan, burning vehicles, blocking roads, and battling security forces.
The violence resulted in the deaths of 19 suspected cartel members and 10 military personnel, according to Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval. Another 21 people were arrested during Thursday's operations, but there were no reports of civilian deaths.
After his arrest, Guzman was transported by helicopter to Mexico City and then taken to a maximum security prison. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stated that there are currently no plans to extradite Guzman to the United States, where his father is serving a life sentence in a maximum-security prison after being extradited in 2017.
The United States has been seeking the extradition of Ovidio Guzman for years, and in 2021, the State Department offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest. Guzman, known by the nickname "The Mouse," is charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana into the United States.
According to the State Department, methamphetamine labs in Sinaloa, controlled by the Sinaloa cartel, were producing "3,000 to 5,000 pounds" of the drug per month. It was also alleged that Guzman ordered several murders. The arrest of Ovidio Guzman comes just ahead of a summit of North American leaders set to take place in Mexico next week, which will be attended by U.S.
President Joe Biden. It is expected that security cooperation between the two countries will be on the agenda.
The Sinaloa Cartel
The Sinaloa Cartel sometimes referred to as the CDS, the Guzmán-Loera Organization, the Pacific Cartel, the Federation, and the Blood Alliance, is a massive, global organized crime group that specializes in the trafficking of illegal drugs and the laundering of illicit funds.
It was founded in Mexico in the late 1980s as one of many subordinate "plazas" working for the Guadalajara Cartel, a former criminal organization. With operations across several world countries, but primarily in the Mexican states of Sinaloa, Baja California, Durango, Sonora, and Chihuahua, it is now led by Ismael Zambada Garca and is headquartered in the Sinaloan city of Culiacán.