Mexican government is forced to RELEASE El Chapo's son and RETREAT after drug cartel launches all-out WAR on the streets of their Culiacán stronghold following his arrest

  • The brief apprehension of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman's son, Ovidio Guzman Lopez, triggered a raging gun battle on Thursday in Culiacan, Mexico
  • Security forces say they were forced to release Ovidio and retreat after heavily armed cartel fighters surrounded them and launched a war across the city
  • Authorities said they were patrolling an area of the city when they were fired upon from a house
  • They fired back and were eventually able to enter the house where they found four cartel members inside, including Ovidio Guzman
  • Following his arrest, Culiacan exploded in violence with armed civilians in trucks roaring through the city on trucks with mounted machine guns  
  • Authorities said they eventually released Ovidio to restore calm in the city
  • Ovidio is wanted in the U.S. on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana in the United States

The brief apprehension of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman's son, Ovidio Guzman Lopez, triggered a raging gun battle on Thursday in the Mexican city of Culiacan

The brief apprehension of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman's son, Ovidio Guzman Lopez, triggered a raging gun battle on Thursday in the Mexican city of Culiacan

Mexican security forces were forced to release one of drug lord El Chapo's sons and retreat after heavily armed cartel fighters surrounded them and launched a war across the city of Culiacan. 

The brief apprehension of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman's son, Ovidio Guzman Lopez, triggered a raging gun battle on Thursday in the city that is home to the notorious drug kingpin's Sinaloa cartel.

Mexican Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said 30 members of the National Guard militarized police were patrolling an area in the city, 370 miles northwest of Mexico City, when they were fired on from a house. 

Authorities fired back and were eventually able to enter the house where they found four cartel members inside, including Ovidio Guzman, who is accused of drug trafficking in the U.S.   

Heavily armed gunmen quickly surrounded the home in retaliation and an intense, hours-long gunfight broke out as the civilians loyal to the drug lord opened fire on the security forces. 

The patrol was eventually overpowered by the cartel gunmen and the decision was taken to set Ovidio Guzman free from the house and to withdraw to protect the lives of the National Guard and restore calm in the city, Durazo said. 

Sinaloa public safety director Cristóbal Castañeda said two had been killed and 21 injured during the raging gunfight – but the true death toll is not yet clear with television images showing at least three bodies lying next to cars in the streets. 

He said police had come under attack when they approached roadblocks manned by gunmen. He advised residents not to leave their homes.

The chaos was continuing as night fell. 

A lawyer for El Chapo's family, José Luis González Meza, said that Guzmán's family had told him 'Ovidio is alive and free' but that he had no more details about what had happened.  

His current whereabouts are unknown.  

Cartel gunmen are seen outside during clashes with federal forces following the detention of Ovidio Guzman, son of drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, in Culiacan, Sinaloa state, Mexico October 17, 2019

Cartel gunmen are seen outside during clashes with federal forces following the detention of Ovidio Guzman, son of drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, in Culiacan, Sinaloa state, Mexico October 17, 2019

Following the apprehension of Ovidio on Thursday, Culiacan exploded in violence with armed civilians in trucks roaring through the city's center shooting what appeared to be .50-caliber sniper rifles and machine guns

Following the apprehension of Ovidio on Thursday, Culiacan exploded in violence with armed civilians in trucks roaring through the city's center shooting what appeared to be .50-caliber sniper rifles and machine guns 

Cartel gunmen are seen near a burning truck during clashes with federal forces following the detention of Ovidio Guzman on Thursday

Cartel gunmen are seen near a burning truck during clashes with federal forces following the detention of Ovidio Guzman on Thursday

The civilian gunmen blocked a number of city streets with burning vehicles, which is a common tactic to make it difficult for authorities to maneuver

The civilian gunmen blocked a number of city streets with burning vehicles, which is a common tactic to make it difficult for authorities to maneuver 

Ovidio Guzman
Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman

Ovidio Guzman (left), along with his brothers, is believed to be influential in the cartel since their father, Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, (right) was jailed in the United States

Ernesto Martínez, a local crime reporter, told the New York Times that the shootout came in two blasts. One started at 3.30pm and went on for around 20 minutes before a second one erupted. 

The second gun battle went on late into Thursday evening and lasted for four hours. 

Riodoce reported that gunmen had blocked entrances to the city with burning vehicles, a common tactic to make it difficult for security forces to maneuver. 

Ovidio, along with his brothers, is believed to be influential in the cartel since their father was jailed for life in the United States. 

Despite the reaction to his arrest, Ovidio is not one of El Chapo's best-known sons.

Iván Archivaldo Guzmán and Jesús Alfredo Guzmán are known as 'los Chapitos', or 'the little Chapos', and are believed to currently run their father's Sinaloa Cartel together with Ismael 'El Mayo' Zambada. 

Following the apprehension of Ovidio on Thursday, Culiacan exploded in violence with armed civilians in trucks roaring through the city's center shooting what appeared to be .50-caliber sniper rifles and machine guns. 

The whereabouts of one of El Chapo's successor sons, Iván Archivaldo Guzmán (pictured), is currently unknown. Reports say that he may have been killed or captured during yesterday's events

The whereabouts of one of El Chapo's successor sons, Iván Archivaldo Guzmán (pictured), is currently unknown. Reports say that he may have been killed or captured during yesterday's events 

An armored vehicle with bullet impacts on the windscreen sits on a street after clashes between armed groups and Federal Forces in Culiacan

An armored vehicle with bullet impacts on the windscreen sits on a street after clashes between armed groups and Federal Forces in Culiacan

Unidentified gunmen block a street in Culiacan, Mexico. State police said there were no confirmed deaths from the afternoon of fighting, but photos showed a number of blood-covered bodies strewn across various streets

Unidentified gunmen block a street in Culiacan, Mexico. State police said there were no confirmed deaths from the afternoon of fighting, but photos showed a number of blood-covered bodies strewn across various streets

People can be seen running to take cover with their children during a shootout in Culiacan, Mexico yesterday

People can be seen running to take cover with their children during a shootout in Culiacan, Mexico yesterday

Footage on social media showed scenes resembling a war zone as masked gunmen rode on the back of trucks firing mounted machine guns as vehicles burned. 

People could be seen running for cover as machine gun fire rattled around them. Drivers drove in reverse frantically to get away from the clashes. 

Families with young children left their cars and lay flat in the road. Bullets cracked up ahead. 'Dad, can we get up now?' a small boy said to his father in a video posted on Twitter.

'No, stay there on the floor,' the man replied, his voice trembling. 

State police said there were no confirmed deaths, but photos showed a number of blood-covered bodies strewn across various streets.   

Unconfirmed reports from Sinaloa have claimed 39-year-old Iván Archivaldo Guzmán, El Chapo’s eldest son, has been killed or captured by Mexican authorities. 

Some claim he too was briefly in custody but either escaped or was released.

Dead bodies were strewn across streets following the clashes despite state police saying there were no confirmed deaths

Dead bodies were strewn across streets following the clashes despite state police saying there were no confirmed deaths  

Other officials said there were people wounded but did not give a casualty figure. A dead body is pictured above lying on the road by a car

Other officials said there were people wounded but did not give a casualty figure. A dead body is pictured above lying on the road by a car 

The President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador arrives at the International Airport of Oaxaca, Mexico, 17 October 2019

The President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador arrives at the International Airport of Oaxaca, Mexico, 17 October 2019

State police said several prisoners escaped from a prison during the chaos. Video footage showed a group of between 20 to 30 people running in the streets. 

It was not immediately clear how they escaped from the prison. Sinaloa public safety director Cristóbal Castañeda told Milenio television that some of the prisoners were quickly recaptured.  

Vehicles and a petrol station were also set on fire as the cartel gunmen roamed the city.

Vehicles with bullet holes sit on a street after clashes between armed groups and Federal Forces in Culiacan

Vehicles with bullet holes sit on a street after clashes between armed groups and Federal Forces in Culiacan

Civilians hid in the aisles of a supermarket, while others ran for cover in leafy suburban streets. 

Sinaloa's soccer club Dorados announced that it had cancelled its game on Thursday due to security concerns. 

The chaotic scenes in Culiacan, long a stronghold for the Guzmans' Sinaloa cartel, will increase pressure on President Lopez Obrador, who took office in December promising to pacify a country weary after more than a decade of drug-war fighting. 

This image shows 39-year-old Ivan Archibaldo Guzman 'El Chapito' being escorted by police officers in 2005

This image shows 39-year-old Ivan Archibaldo Guzman 'El Chapito' being escorted by police officers in 2005

Heavily armed civilians in trucks were firing in downtown Culiacan, with some shooting what appeared to be .50-caliber sniper rifles and truck-mounted machine guns

Heavily armed civilians in trucks were firing in downtown Culiacan, with some shooting what appeared to be .50-caliber sniper rifles and truck-mounted machine guns

Heavily armed civilians in trucks were firing in downtown Culiacan, with some shooting what appeared to be .50-caliber sniper rifles and truck-mounted machine guns

Heavily armed civilians in trucks were firing in downtown Culiacan, with some shooting what appeared to be .50-caliber sniper rifles and truck-mounted machine guns

Footage on social media showed scenes resembling a war zone as masked gunmen rode on the back of trucks firing mounted machine guns as vehicles burned

Footage on social media showed scenes resembling a war zone as masked gunmen rode on the back of trucks firing mounted machine guns as vehicles burned 

Vehicles and a petrol station were set on fire as the cartel gunmen roamed the city

Vehicles and a petrol station were set on fire as the cartel gunmen roamed the city

WHO IS EL CHAPO'S SON OVIDIO GUZMAN LOPEZ?  

Ovidio Guzman Lopez is believed to be influential in the Sinaloa cartel since his father, El Chapo, was jailed for life in the United States. 

Despite the reaction to his arrest, Ovidio is not one of El Chapo's best-known sons.

Iván Archivaldo Guzmán and Jesús Alfredo Guzmán are known as 'los Chapitos', or 'the little Chapos', and are believed to currently run their father's Sinaloa Cartel together with Ismael 'El Mayo' Zambada. 

Ovidio, however, is wanted in the U.S. on drug charges. 

The U.S. Department of Justice unveiled an indictment against Ovidio and another of the brothers - Joaquín Guzmán López - in February. 

They are charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana in the United States.  

The indictment gave Ovidio's age as 28 and said he had been involved in trafficking conspiracies since he was a teenager. 

 Falko Ernst, senior analyst for the International Crisis Group in Mexico, said the release of Ovidio Guzman set "a dangerous precedent" and sent a message that the state itself, including the army, could be blackmailed and was not in control.

Presumed cartel members apparently intercepted a radio frequency used by security forces, one video showed, warning of reprisals against soldiers if Guzman was not freed.

Murders this year are set to be at a record high. 

Sinaloa is home to the cartel by the same name, which was led by El Chapo. 

He led the Sinaloa cartel for decades, escaping from prison twice before being arrested and extradited to the United States. 

He was found guilty in a U.S. court in February of smuggling tons of drugs and sentenced to life in prison.  

After Guzmán's third arrest in 2016, an internal battle for succession began playing out. 

The battle was resolved with the arrest of Damaso López Nunez and his son Dámaso López Serrano, who led a rival faction.

The cartel is currently led by Ismael 'El Mayo' Zambada with three of Guzman's sons Ivan, Archivaldo and Alfredo.

He is believed to have about 12 children including Ovidio.

The U.S. Department of Justice unveiled an indictment against Ovidio and another of the brothers - Joaquín Guzmán López - in February. 

They are charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana in the United States.  

The indictment gave Ovidio's age as 28 and said he had been involved in trafficking conspiracies since he was a teenager.  

Vehicles burn in a street of Culiacan, state of Sinaloa, Mexico, on Thursday as heavily armed gunmen in four-by-four trucks fought an intense battle against Mexican security forces

Vehicles burn in a street of Culiacan, state of Sinaloa, Mexico, on Thursday as heavily armed gunmen in four-by-four trucks fought an intense battle against Mexican security forces

The patrol was eventually overpowered by the cartel gunmen and the decision was taken to withdraw to protect the lives of the National Guard and restore calm in the city

The patrol was eventually overpowered by the cartel gunmen and the decision was taken to withdraw to protect the lives of the National Guard and restore calm in the city

People could be seen running for cover as machine gun fire rattled around them. Drivers drove in reverse frantically to get away from the clashes

People could be seen running for cover as machine gun fire rattled around them. Drivers drove in reverse frantically to get away from the clashes

A bullet riddled vehicle remains in a street of Culiacan following the intense gun battle

A bullet riddled vehicle remains in a street of Culiacan following the intense gun battle

 

Gun battles rock Mexican city after El Chapo's son detained

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