Fugitive Son of Jailed Mexican Drug Lord 'El Chapo' Arrested in Mexico, After at Least 29 Killed in Firefights

Ovidio Guzmán, who allegedly heads the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel on behalf of his jailed father, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, has been arrested in Mexico, authorities said, and at least 29 people were killed in bloody standoffs.

Ovidio Guzmán, who allegedly heads the venomous Sinaloa cartel on behalf of his jailed kingpin father "El Chapo," was in federal prison Friday after at least 29 people were killed in bloody firefights leading to his arrest, Mexican authorities said.

The 32-year-old was taken into custody Thursday, prompting chaos in Culiacán, where at least 19 suspected gang members and 10 military personnel died during violent clashes in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa, as Guzmán, along with 21 other suspected cartel members, were arrested, officials said. 

Guzmán, nicknamed "The Mouse," was extracted by helicopter and flown to the nation's capital where he was being held at Altiplano, a maximum-security facility from which his father escaped in 2015. Authorities said extra security had been added to the prison.

The capture of Guzmán was the result of a long operation involving 200 special forces, Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval said Friday.

Guzmán was described as “a high-ranking member of the Sinaloa Cartel” in a statement by the U.S State Department in December.

He had been previously arrested in 2019, but was released on the orders of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to avoid further bloodshed and violence in the ongoing war between drug cartels and the Mexican law enforcement, which often results in civilian casualties.

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, an infamous criminal in Mexico and beyond, is serving a life sentence in the United States after being convicted on charges including drug trafficking and weapons violations. He was also ordered to pay $12.6 billion in forfeiture fines.

His son's arrested came days before U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were scheduled to arrive in Mexico City for the North American Leaders Summit.

The arrest operation was met with fierce retaliation by cartel members, authorities said. Cars were set ablaze and gunfire erupted in the northern Sinaloa state as special forces moved in, officials said. A firefight erupted at the local airport and residents were warned to stay indoors.

Schools and businesses were closed. 

An Aeromexico plane was hit as it prepared to fly from Culiacán to Mexico City on Thursday, the airline said.

"As we were accelerating for take-off, we heard gunshots very close to the plane, and that's when we all threw ourselves to the floor," passenger David Tellez told Reuters news agency.

Guzmán is accused of leading a faction of his father's drug cartel, authorities said.

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