Mexican security forces arrested Ovidio Guzmán López, one of the sons of the imprisoned Sinaloa drug cartel honcho, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, on Thursday, October 17. Ovidio was reportedly arrested in the city of Culiacán, the capital of the state of Sinaloa in northwestern Mexico. Culiacán is widely recognized as the headquarters of the Sinaloa cartel.
According to the Mexican Security Minister Alfonso Durazo, Ovidio was arrested after a small group of cartel gunmen occupying a house in a section of Sinaloa fired on a group of security forces patrolling the area. The security forces returned fire and broke into the house where they arrested Ovidio and a number of his cartel aides.
The security forces were forced to release Ovidio and beat a retreat after heavily armed cartel gunmen surrounded them and engaged them in a gun battle for hours on the streets of Culiacán. The Mexican authorities said they were forced to release Ovidio to restore calm in Culiacán and prevent the spread of violence that erupted after the arrest.
The Associated Press reported that an El Chapo family lawyer confirmed Ovidio’s release.
The cartel gunmen were heavily armed with automatic weapons. Images that surfaced online showed cartel gunmen manning truck-mounted machine guns. The streets of Culiacán were strewn with burning vehicles that the cartel fighters used as roadblocks to prevent the security forces from escaping with Ovidio. There were also dead bodies on the streets and civilians were shown scampering for safety as gunfire ringed through the streets.
Cartel gunmen paralyzed Culiacán, a major Mexican city, unleashing hails of gunfire in broad daylight. The violence began after the attempted arrest of Ovidio Guzmán López, the son of the infamous drug lord known as El Chapo. https://t.co/cyHOeAEggY
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 18, 2019
Who are Ovidio Guzmán López and Ivan Archivaldo?
Ovidio Guzmán López, known as El Raton (The Mouse), is one of the younger sons of the Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán (Joaquín Guzmán Loera), who was arrested and imprisoned in the U.S. last year.
Iván Archivaldo Guzmán-Salazar, 39, and Jesús Alfredo Guzmán-Salazar are two of El Chapo’s eldest sons who now run the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico.
Despite the dramatic reaction to his arrest last night, Ovidio is not as well-known as his older brother, Iván Archivaldo, who took control of their father’s vast drug trafficking empire after his arrest and imprisonment last year. El Chapo has a lot of children, believed to be as many as 13. But some sources claim that he has 15 children, and maybe even more.
El Chapo’s better-known sons are Iván Archivaldo and Jesús Alfredo Guzmán-Salazar, from his first marriage to María Alejandrina Salazar Hernández.
Iván Archivaldo and his brothers are known together as Los Chapitos (the little Chapos). They battled for control of the Sinaloa Cartel against their father’s former top aide, Dámaso López Núñez (aka Licenciado), who was recently extradited to the U.S.
Iván Archivaldo and Jesús Alfredo now control the Sinaloa Cartel in alliance with their father’s former powerful ally, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia. Ovidio maintained a relatively low profile until yesterday’s incident brought his role in the Sinaloa cartel into focus.
Ovidio and his elder brother, Joaquín Guzmán López, 34, were named together in a February 2019 U.S. indictment that accused them of involvement in the Sinaloa Cartel’s trafficking of drugs, such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana, into the United States.
Jesús Alfredo is also wanted for the alleged federal violations of “Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substance and attempt/conspiracy-controlled substance-import/export with intent to distribute.”