Mexican security forces on Thursday captured a son of jailed drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, scoring a high-profile win in the fight against powerful cartels days before US President Joe Biden visits.
Ovidio Guzman, nicknamed “El Raton” (The Mouse), was caught in the northwestern city of Culiacan and flown to Mexico City on a military plane, Defence Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval told reporters.
He said the arrest was the result of six months of intelligence work tracking down the 32-year-old, who has allegedly helped to run his father’s operations since “El Chapo” was extradited to the United States in 2017.
The United States had offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to Ovidio Guzman’s capture, accusing him of being a key player in the infamous Sinaloa cartel.
Gunfire and arson shook Culiacan after the arrest, which comes as Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador prepares to welcome Biden next week for a North America leaders’ summit in Mexico City at which security is expected to be high on the agenda.
At least 18 people were injured in the violence, Sinaloa state governor Ruben Rocha said, while school classes were suspended and sporting events in Culiacan were cancelled.
As Guzman’s henchmen reacted with fury, a passenger jet was hit by a bullet in its fuselage as it was preparing to take off from Culiacan airport, but there were no injuries, the airline Aeromexico said.