The sun had not yet risen in Culiacan when David Tellez. And his family started heading to the city’s airport. Their return flight to Mexico City after their vacation. But shortly after they set off. They encounter their first unpaved road obstacle. An abandoned vehicle standing in their way.
Tellez took to social media to find out what was going on.
The army captured Ovidio Guzman. Son of notorious former Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman. On Thursday in a pre-dawn raid north of the city. Hours before Mexico’s defense secretary confirmed.Only to find that the capital of Sinaloa state. A stronghold of the cartel of the same name, was filled with roadblocks and gunfire.
Just like that, Culiacan was thrown into a day of terror that. Its residents hadn’t experienced since October 2019. The last time authorities tried to capture the young Guzmán.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has railed against. His predecessor’s aggressive efforts to catch drug lords. But his administration has acquired high-profile cartel figures days. Before hosting US President Joe Biden.
A fugitive Mexican cartel kingpin known as “El Neto” has since died. After a shootout early Thursday, four days. After he escaped from prison in a violent mass break-out, authorities said.
“El Neto”, whose full name was Ernesto Alfredo Piñon de la Cruz. As tracked down by intelligence forces in the US border town of Ciudad Juarez. And then shot after a chase, officials said.
But at least in the short term, Culiacan locals were paying the price for Guzmán’s arrest.
Culiacan residents posted videos on social media showing convoys of gunmen in pickup trucks. And SUVs rolling down city boulevards. At least one of the convoys included a flatbed truck with a mounted gun on the back. The same type of vehicle that caused chaos and disorder in the 2019 unrest.
All entrances to the city were blocked and similar operations were underway in other parts of Sinaloa.
The Rev. Esteban Robles, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Culiacan. Said that “there is an atmosphere of uncertainty. Tension” and that those may stay inside their homes.
“Many roads are still blocked by burning cars,” Robles said.
Culiacan Municipal Government warns: “Do not leave the house! The safety of the citizens of Culiacan is paramount.
Oscar Loza, a human rights activist in Culiacan. Described the situation as tense, with some looting of shops. On the city’s south side, where Loza lives. People reported gunmen moving toward a military base. But Loza said the streets around his home were very quiet. “You can’t hear any traffic,” he said.
Tellez pressed on to try to get his family back to Mexico City. Passing several more abandoned vehicles blocking the road. reaching the airport.
There, the family checked in to their flight. Before staff at an airport restaurant urged them to take refuge in a bathroom. The gunmen arrived at the airport only to have authorities stop Guzmán from taking off.
Juan Carlos Ayala, a Culiacan resident and University of Sinaloa professor. Who studies the sociology of drug trafficking. Said Ovidio Guzmán had been an obvious target since at least 2019.
People have different opinions, but the majority is with them” – Sinaloa cartel.
This may be due to the money the cartels bring to the region. But the locals know that the cartels will still be there even after the federal troops withdraw. As bad as it gets, the cartels have ensured relative stability, if not peace.”Ovidio’s fate was sealed. Moreover, he was identified as the largest trafficker of fentanyl. And the most visible Chapos leader.” Asked how locals are reacting to the arrests, Ayala said. ”
Guzmán was indicted by the United States in 2018 on drug trafficking charges. According to both governments, he assumed an increasing role among. His brothers to continue their father’s business with longtime cartel boss Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard confirmed that.
At Culiacan’s airport, a Mexican military flight was able to fly Guzmán to Mexico City. Two large military plane carrying troops. As well as three or four military helicopters. Waited for a chance to take off while Tellez’s commercial flight began to deploy. And naval and military personnel began deploying along the perimeter of the runway.
As the airline prepared to take off, Tellez heard gunshots in the distance. Within 15 seconds the sound was suddenly louder and much closer and the passengers threw themselves on the floor. The government received a request for Guzmán’s extradition from the United States in 2019.