Following the arrest this morning in Culiacán, Sinaloa of drug trafficker Ovidio Guzmán, son of well-known trafficker Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, riots broke out in different parts of the state. Local authorities asked the population to stay indoors and suspended classes.
Following the news of the security operation that resulted in the arrest of the drug leader, members of the Sinaloa Cartel made blockades and carried out shootings in different parts of the city. The main access roads to Culiacán were under siege, as were Culiacán's Federal International Airport and Military Air Base 10. In addition, in the midst of the chaos, numerous stores were looted and robbed.
Así los saqueos y asaltos a tiendas, en medio del caos y la tensión que priva en #Culiacan tras la receptora de #OvidioGuzman esta mañana pic.twitter.com/3LSRQ7vefJ
— Salvador García Soto (@SGarciaSoto) January 5, 2023
On the other hand, there was a riot in Aguaruto prison also linked to the arrest of Guzmán. Some prisoners attempted to escape, and shootings were reported. The secretary of public security and the municipal police carried out a special operation to try to control the insurgency.
Mexican airline Aeromexico confirmed in a press release that one of its planes was shot at while preparing to take off at the Federal International Airport of Culiacán. No casualties were reported, but the flight was cancelled for safety reasons.
🚨#ULTIMAHORA #Sinaloa #Culiacan| Se reportan detonaciones y columnas de humo al interior del Centro Penitenciario de #Aguaruto, luego de la detención de #OvidioGuzman
— Diario de México (@DDMexico) January 5, 2023
Through social media, Rubén Rocha Moya, governor of Sinaloa, asked the population to remain calm and stay at home. "In view of the events that are occurring in Culiacán, I ask citizens to remain calm and take shelter in their homes. The authorities are doing their job and we will keep you posted," he wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico warned of shootings in several cities in the state of Sinaloa, including Culiacán, Los Mochis and Guasave. It warned U.S. citizens to avoid traveling.
Alerta para ciudadanos estadounidenses sobre Sinaloa: hay reportes de balaceras en varias partes del estado incluyendo Culiacán, Los Mochis y Guasave. Monitoreen noticias. El Consulado les recuerda que @TravelGov clasifica Sinaloa como nivel 4 "No Viajar". pic.twitter.com/IqrHpLNiNQ
— Embajada EU en Mex (@USEmbassyMEX) January 5, 2023
Who is Ovidio Guzmán?
Son of former Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin Guzmán Loera, better known as El Chapo, Ovidio Guzmán took the lead of the cartel after his father was captured and sentenced to life in the maximum security federal prison ADX Florence. Along with at least three of his brothers, he led the criminal organization which he had been linked to since his adolescence.
El Ratón, as he is known, was one of the most wanted drug traffickers in the United States. In fact, the FBI is demanding his extradition and was offering up to $5 million in reward money. In 2019, he was captured by Mexican security forces, although the decision was made to release him to avoid clashes between the different factions of the Sinaloa Cartel.