The failed raid to capture El Chapo’s son in Thursday, which led to the death of eight people in Mexico, was said to have been kicked off by an arrest warrant issued by a federal judge in Washington, DC.
Mexican security forces aborted an attempt to capture Ovidio Guzman Lopez, one of imprisoned drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s sons, Thursday in Culiacan, Mexico, after finding themselves outgunned in a ferocious shootout with cartel henchmen that left at least eight people dead and more than 20 wounded.
Authorities said 35 troops arrived at a home Thursday afternoon to arrest Ovidio on a 2018 extradition request from the US. Although they entered the home where Ovidio and three others were inside, they did not take him into custody.
El Chapo’s lawyer said Thursday’s botch effort to capture the incarcerated drug kingpin’s son, Ovidio Guzman Lopez (pictured), in Mexico was initiated by a US federal judge’s arrest warrant
El Chapo’s lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, said that the arrest warrant came from a Washington, DC, judge. Eight people died during the fight between Mexican authorities and cartel gunmen
El Chapo’s lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, told the New York Post that Ovidio’s arrest warrant originated from a federal judge in Washington, DC.
Lichtman said that Ovidio is ‘safe and not in custody,’ but noted that it was ‘unclear what exactly happened,’ but that they would look into it ‘As soon as the smoke clears.’
Ovidio and brother Joaquin Guzman Lopez were indicted in 2018 in Washington, along with a fourth brother, on charges of trafficking cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.
The indictment was unsealed on February 13 and covered the period from April 2008 to April 2018. At the time, the brothers’ father, El Chapo, was running the Sinaloa cartel with Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada.
El Chapo was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years by a Brooklyn federal judge in July, after being convicted of multiple charges, including drug trafficking, money laundering and murder conspiracy.
The cartel is now said to be run by El Chapo’s two other sons, Iván Archivaldo Guzmán and Jesús Alfredo Guzmán, alongside Zambada.
Thursday’s gun battle was said to have paralyzed the capital of Mexico’s Sinaloa state, Culiacan, and left the streets littered with burning vehicles, which residents took cover indoors as automatic gunfire raged outside.
Mexican authorities said 35 troops arrived at a home Thursday afternoon to arrest Ovidio on a 2018 extradition request from the US, kicking off chaos and violence in Culiacan, Mexico
Vehicles were burned during the clash on Thursday, which also led to prisoners escaping
Two of the eight people who died during Thursday’s violence are pictured in Culiacan
Another person is pictured here dead in the street in Culiacan following the violent struggle
A police officer is shown here pouring water over the burning wreck of a truck on Friday
Ovidio is one of El Chapo’s (pictured in 2014) sons. Ovidio and two brothers were indicted in 2018 in Washington, on charges of trafficking cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana
In addition to the 35 men who entered Ovidio’s home, heavily-armed men in greater force surrounded the house and also unleashed mayhem elsewhere, taking over toll booths and main roads into the city. Men carrying high-caliber weapons blocked major intersections.
Amid the chaos, inmates at a prison rioted, seized weapons from guards and fled. Fifty-six prisoners escaped, and 49 were still at large Friday, according to Sinaloa Public Security Secretary Cristóbal Castañeda. Two guards were taken captive and later freed.
The attacks were so brazen that Sinaloa cartel gunmen took several soldiers hostage and even attacked the housing complex where soldiers’ wives and children live.
The government’s security cabinet made the decision to withdraw the troops to avoid greater loss of life.
‘The capture of one criminal cannot be worth more than the lives of people. They made the decision and I supported it,’ López Obrador said. He added: ‘We do not want deaths. We do not want war.’
Security cabinet officials said they were not informed about the operation beforehand. They said troops surrounded the house without a search warrant and came under fire before one could be delivered, at that point deciding to enter without the warrant. And they said the troops underestimated the cartel’s response.
Sandoval said that if the security cabinet had known about the operation, it would have gone about it differently and deployed more troops and even sent air support.
‘This group … rushed things. It did not consider the consequences,’ he said.
Juan Pablo Badillo, a lawyer who represents the drug lord in Mexico, praised López Obrador, saying Ovidio Guzman was freed ‘by a manly order, an intelligent order, a sensible order from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.’
Streets in Culiacan, a city of over 800,000, remained blocked with torched cars Friday morning, schools were closed, and some public offices asked their employees to stay home.