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AMLO says El Chapo’s son released to steer clear of ‘war’ with Sinaloa drug cartel


Residents took videos of the chaos in the city, even though Mexicans across the nation watched on the internet, a reside-streamed glimpse into the cartel’s potential to overwhelm the state. The gunmen carried military-grade weapons and sent convoys of trucks into the city streets.

Ovidio Guzmán emerged as a major figure in the cartel following his father was arrested in 2016. But as the members of the cartel took to the streets, apparently freeing dozens of prisoners and turning the city into an urban war zone, Mexican authorities decided to release him. 

López Obrador confirmed that the safety forces had attempted to arrest Guzmán utilizing an arrest warrant that would lead to his extradition to the United States. He would not say no matter if the arrest was solicited straight by the Trump administration. 

“We do not want victims. We do not want a war,” López Obrador stated at a news conference, explaining that Guzmán’s release was reflective of his administration’s technique not to use force against the country’s main criminal organizations. 

The choice to detain and then virtually straight away release a single of Mexico’s most wanted drug traffickers — who was indicted by the U.S. Justice Division in February — was a shocking show of weakness for Mexico’s government, revealing how entrenched the country’s major drug cartel remains, even following the arrest of El Chapo. It prompted widespread concern that Mexico’s drug cartels would be emboldened by the government’s failure, potentially major to even additional violence. 

“It is a defeat of the nation. It is a defeat of the administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. It is a defeat of the pretty dubious technique of pacification that he defends,” wrote columnist Carlos Loret de Mola in El Universal. 

In a video statement, best officials from Mexico’s safety agencies described how agents came beneath attack by armed males from a residence even though on patrol.

“The personnel fired back and took handle of the residence, in which they identified 4 occupants. Through that action, a single of them was identified as Ovidio Guzmán López,” stated Safety Minister Alfonso Durazo. “This resulted in different groups of organized crime groups who surrounded the residence with a higher firepower than that of the patrol. In addition, other groups carried out violent actions against residents in different components of the city, developing panic.”

López Obrador contradicted that account, saying that safety forces have been intentionally searching for to arrest Guzmán when they came beneath fire. Mexican forces had badly misjudged the strength of the cartel’s response to the detention of a single of its leaders.

Inside minutes, the scale of that misjudgment became clear. The cartel outmanned and outgunned Mexican safety forces across Culiacan. For these watching the torrent of cellphone videos and following the government’s convoluted response, there was a clear food: The Sinaloa cartel had won, and the Mexican government had lost. 

Videos circulating on social media appeared to show heavily armed civilians firing machine guns mounted in pickup trucks.

Sinaloa’s public safety director, Cristóbal Castañeda, told Milenio tv that among 20 and 30 prisoners had escaped in the course of the operation, though some had been recaptured.

One more video on social media purported to show inmates operating by means of the streets, forcing drivers out of their vehicles.

“They’re freeing them,” exclaims a lady in a single video. “We can not leave right here.”

By 9 p.m., the fighting appeared ongoing. Improvised roadblocks have been constructed with cars set on fire. Some folks sprinted by means of the streets holding their kids to make it from a single developing to an additional to steer clear of gunfire.

Government officials warned residents not to venture into particular components of the city.

Culiacan in northwestern Mexico is the stronghold of the Sinaloa cartel and exactly where the organization has ample assistance and firepower — demonstrated Thursday across that city. Following Guzmán’s release, residents sympathetic to the cartel celebrated their victory more than government forces in a flurry of WhatsApp messages.

The cartel has remained the biggest organized crime group in the nation for almost 3 decades and continues to be the most prominent cartel across main components of the nation. Its largest rival, the New Generation cartel of Jalisco, is increasing rapid and has been expanding its territory across Mexico, searching for to fill the void El Chapo left. 

Because the capture of El Chapo, the Sinaloa cartel has been led mostly by Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and El Chapo’s sons Jesús Alfredo Guzmán and Iván Archivaldo Guzmán.

In February, the U.S. Justice Division unsealed an indictment against two additional of El Chapo’s sons, Ovidio Guzmán and Joaquín Guzmán López, for “knowingly, intentionally, and willfully” distributing drugs to be exported into the United States. They would have to be extradited to the United States to face trial on these charges. 

Through El Chapo’s trial in New York this year, prosecutors stated the sons had played a function in facilitating their father’s escape in 2015 from a maximum-safety prison in Almoloya de Juarez, Mexico.

El Mayo has extended remained an elusive figure who, as opposed to El Chapo, has stayed largely out of the spotlight. There have been reported tensions among the leader and the two Guzmán sons in current months.

Drugs continue to flow into the United States unabated as the Sinaloa cartel has ramped up its production of methamphetamines and fentanyl. 

López Obrador has backed away from an aggressive military-led technique to defeat the cartels, which lots of of his predecessors championed.

On Friday, he rejected claims that the failed operation would embolden the country’s drug cartels.

“Can’t worth the capture of a criminal additional than the lives of folks,” he stated. 

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