Passenger plane shot at, chaos erupts in Sinaloa after arrest of son of ‘El Chapo’ – World News

Passenger plane shot at, chaos erupts in Sinaloa after arrest of son of ‘El Chapo’ – World News

Photo: The Canadian Press

FILE – This October 17, 2019 still frame from video provided by the Mexican government shows Ovidio Guzman Lopez at the moment of his detention in Culiacan, Mexico. Mexican security forces were forced to release the son of Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman the day after his gunmen shelled the western city of Culiacan. (CEPROPIE via AP file)

UPDATE 3:15 p.m

Canadian tourists were trapped in a Mexican hotel on Thursday when buses meant to take them to an airport and home safely burned outside.

“It’s just chaos,” said Edmonton’s Tina Dahl, whose family of six stranded in the popular tourist city of Mazatlan was scheduled to fly out Thursday night.

The federal government advised Canadians in Mexico to limit their movements and seek shelter due to the violence in the western part of the country.

The violence began after a security operation before dawn Thursday, in which security forces arrested suspected drug dealer Ovidio Guzman, a son of former cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Ottawa said the violence was particularly intense in Culiacan, Mazatlan, Los Mochis and Guasave.

Dahl’s brother, sister-in-law, their three children and her sister-in-law’s mother were all trapped in their hotel room, she said.

“They were supposed to come back today but are stuck in their hotel because the three buses that were supposed to go to the airport were set on fire by the (drug) cartel,” Dahl said.

“There was a shooting at the airport, so the airports were closed and the cartel put their warriors in front of the hotel. All I know is that my brother and his family are stuck at the hotel right now.”

Dahl doesn’t have a phone line to the hotel, she said. But she was able to communicate with her family through Facebook.

“Sounds like they’re all fine,” she said.

“(They are) obviously shaken. Just because they’ve read between the lines of the lyrics and such, they’re pretty shaken up.”

The children are 10, 8 and 7 years old.

“I’m sure my brother probably has (the kids) at the pool and is trying not to keep them[focused]on it,” Dahl said.

Dahl quoted from a note from her sister-in-law: “The first time it happened they said we would try to get you on a 2am flight tomorrow.

“I don’t think they will fly home tomorrow. The gates are locked, the airports are closed and they are burning down the city of Mazatlan.

“The lobby is full of people who should be kicked out, and if they’re not out by 5 p.m., they throw them out. These people can’t take to the streets when buses are burning outside and the cartel is there.”

UPDATE 2:15 p.m

An Aeroméxico passenger plane was shot at on the runway at Culiacan International Airport on Thursday in the chaos that followed the arrest of drug lord Ovidio Guzmán, son of “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Members of the Sinaloa cartel are believed to have shot at the Embraer E190 aircraft operated by Aeroméxico and a Mexican Air Force Boeing 737-800.

“This morning we discovered a bullet hole in the fuselage of an Embraer E190 aircraft ready to operate flight AM165 on the Culiacan-Mexico-City route. The flight has been canceled for safety reasons,” Aeroméxico said in a statement.

“The plane never started its departure. After this incident, all security protocols have been activated, we have informed the authorities with whom we will coordinate the investigation. The customers and employees are safe.”

The incident has resulted in the closure of airports in Juarez, Culiacan, Los Mochis and Mazatlan.

The Canadian government has issued an emergency shelter for people in the state of Sinaloa, which also includes the tourist hotspot Mazatlán.

“There are burning cars, exchanges of gunfire and threats to essential infrastructure, including airports. Culiacan and Mazatlán airports are closed and all flights at Los Mochis Airport are suspended until further notice,” the Canadian government said.

#México // Aeroméxico confirms that the AM165 aviation beats about the balaceras that are desataron in #Culiacán and not the pasajeros debieron cubrirse ante los impactos.

Los aeropuertos de Cualiacán, Mochis y Mazatlán no tendrán más actividad commercial this day.

— El Clarín (@SVElClarin) January 5, 2023

#Mexico: Entrances to #Mazatlán airport in #Sinaloa state have been blocked by cartel sicarios. Via Grupo Formula on Twitter

— Abhishek Saxena (@tagabhishek) January 5, 2023

The arrest of Ovidio Guzmán is the result of six months of reconnaissance and surveillance on the cartel’s territory and subsequent swift action on Thursday, Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval said. National Guard troops spotted SUVs, some with home-made armor, and immediately coordinated with the army as they established a perimeter around the suspect vehicles and forced the occupants to be searched.

Security forces then came under fire but were able to bring the situation under control and identify Guzmán among those present and in possession of firearms, Sandoval said.

Cartel members set up 19 roadblocks, including at Culiacan’s airport and outside the local army base, as well as all entry points into the city of Culiacan, Sandoval said, but the Air Force was able to fly Guzmán into Mexico City despite its efforts to get him into the offices of the special prosecutor for organized crime brought by the Attorney General.

Sandoval said Guzmán was a leader of a Sinaloa faction he called “los menores” or “the juniors,” also known as “los Chapitos” for El Chapo’s sons.

Other “little chapos” include two of his brothers — Iván Archivaldo Guzmán and Jesús Alfredo Guzmán — who are believed to have run cartel deals with Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

The Chapitos tightened their grip on the cartel because Zambada was in poor health and isolated in the mountains, Vigil said. “The Chapitos know that if el Mayo dies, (the cartel) will fall apart if they don’t have control.”

ORIGINAL 11:50 a.m

Mexican security forces captured Ovidio Guzmán, a suspected drug dealer wanted by the United States, and one of the sons of former Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, in a pre-dawn operation Thursday that sparked shootings and roadblocks throughout western state triggered capital.

Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval said members of the army and national guard had captured a son of “El Chapo”. Sandoval only identified him as Ovidio, in accordance with government policy.

Ovidio Guzmán wasn’t one of El Chapo’s better-known sons until an operation that captured him three years ago was called off. This attempt also sparked violence in Culiacan, which eventually prompted President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to order the military to let him go.

This time, local and state officials in Sinaloa warned residents to stay indoors, halted local government activities and closed schools. The Mexican military closed Culiacan airport amid gunfire.

The high-profile capture comes just days before López Obrador will host US President Joe Biden for bilateral talks, followed by a summit by North American leaders with Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The drug trade, along with immigration, is expected to be a major talking point for leaders.

López Obrador’s security strategy reversed years of what became known as the kingpin strategy of taking down cartel leaders. Ultimately, it had led to the fragmentation of large cartels and bloody struggles for supremacy. López Obrador put all his faith in the military, disbanding the corrupt federal police force and placing the National Guard under military command.

“This is a major blow to the Sinaloa cartel and a major victory for the rule of law. However, it will not impede the flow of drugs into the United States. Hopefully Mexico will extradite him to the US,” Mike Vigil, the DEA’s former head of international operations, said Thursday.

Ovidio isn’t one of the drug lord’s most famous sons. Known as “Los Chapitos” or “the Little Chapos”, Iván Archivaldo Guzmán and Jesús Alfredo Guzmán are said to run their father’s cartel along with Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

The Chapitos tightened their grip on the cartel because Zambada was in poor health and isolated in the mountains, Vigil said. “The Chapitos know that if el Mayo dies, (the cartel) will fall apart if they don’t have control.”

“It will be very important that the United States quickly seek the extradition of Ovidio and that Mexico do so,” Vigil said.

Alleged cartel members responded to Thursday’s operation by kidnapping residents of Culiacan and setting fire to vehicles in the cartel stronghold. Local and state authorities warned everyone to stay indoors.

Such attempts to wreak havoc often come in response to the arrests of key cartel figures in Mexico. One of the most notorious was when federal security forces massacred Ovidio Guzmán in October 2019, only to let him escape after gunmen fired at the city with high-powered weapons.

López Obrador said at the time he made the decision to avoid the loss of life despite the US seeking the extradition of Ovidio Guzman on drug trafficking charges. A 2018 federal indictment in Washington, DC charged him with conspiring to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana in the United States.

The 2019 debacle was a black eye for López Obrador’s government, raising even more questions about Mexico’s involvement in the fight against the country’s powerful drug cartels.

López Obrador came into office highly critical of the toll taken by his predecessors’ drug wars. He adopted the phrase “hugs, not bullets” to describe his approach to Mexico’s chronic violence, which would focus on social programs aimed at weakening organized crime’s appeal.

But four years into his six-year tenure, the death toll remains high.

Sinaloa Governor Ruben Rocha said Thursday via Twitter that the operation took place in an area called Jesus Maria north of the capital and caused “violent events in the capital and other parts of the state.” Relatives of Ovidio Guzmán are known to live there, according to local news agency Riodoce, which reported dozens of roadblocks across the city.

#VideosLaJornada #Culiacán quedó bajo el humo que dejó el #incendio de vehículos, empleados para bloquear vialidades de la ciudad, desde temprana hora, debido a la detención de #OvidioGuzmán, hijo de Joaquín Guzmán Loera, alias #’ElChapo’.

More info

— La Jornada (@lajornadaonline) January 5, 2023

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