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Chaos In Mexico After El Chapo's Son Is Arrested Before Biden's Visit

Just days before President Biden's visit to Mexico, that country was thrown into chaos as alleged cartel members blocked off a northern Mexico airport, areas outside a local army base, and limited major access to the city of Culiacan, in an unsuccessful effort to prevent the capture of drug trafficker Ovidio Guzmán, son of infamous Sinaloa drug lord known as "El Chapo," according to USA Today. Mexican security forces captured Guzmán an alleged drug trafficker who is wanted by the U.S. for his involvement in the cartel's activities, in a predawn operation Thursday. The incident spurred gunfights across the northwestern state's capital ahead of Biden's scheduled two-day visit starting Monday for bilateral talks with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the North American Leaders' Summit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Chaos often has occurred after federal security forces arrested important leaders of cartels in Mexico. Alleged cartel members carjacked residents' cars, set vehicles ablaze, and fired intermittent gunshots that could be heard into the afternoon, as Mexico authorities warned people to stay inside and airports in several Sinaloa cities remained closed.

Guzmán has been heavily involved in the cartel's production of illegal fentanyl, which has helped fuel an epidemic of drug use and deaths in the U.S. More than 71,000 Americans died of overdose deaths from synthetic opioids - mostly involving fentanyl - in 2021. “This is a significant blow to the Sinaloa cartel and major victory for the rule of law. It will not, however, impede the flow of drugs into the U.S. Hopefully, Mexico will extradite him to the U.S.,” said Mike Vigil, the Drug Enforcement Administration's former Chief of International Operations. Known as "the Mouse," Guzmán was not one of El Chapo's better-known sons until an aborted operation to capture him three years ago just months after his father was sentenced to life in a U.S. prison. At the time, similar violence broke out in Culiacan, a stronghold city for the Sinaloa cartel, before López Obrador ordered the military to release Guzmán. López Obrador said at the time he wanted to avoid the loss of life, even though the U.S. was seeking Guzmán extradition on drug trafficking charges. He was indicted in 2018 in the U.S., along with a fourth brother, for the alleged trafficking of cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana. On Thursday, despite the cartel's efforts, Guzmán was flown to Mexico City where he was taken to the offices of the Attorney General's organized crime special prosecutor.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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