Mexican city descends into brutal drug war as security forces fight cartel over El Chapo's son's capture

6 January 2023, 14:42

Violence has broken out across Sinaloa
Violence has broken out across Sinaloa. Picture: Getty/US State Department

By Will Taylor

A Mexican state has descended into a bloody drug war after Mexican security forces recaptured the son of the notorious cartel boss El Chapo.

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Authorities caught Ovidio Guzman-Lopez, who they claim is now in charge of his father's cartel, in Culiacan, Sinaloa state, and transferred him to Mexico City.

Cartel thugs have now rampaged across the state, attacking airports and planes, setting vehicles ablaze and setting up road blocks using buses on the streets.

At least seven security force personnel have been killed in clashes that saw the government forces to retake control, while eight civilians have died.

The battle between authorities and the Sinaloa cartel has seen the gang's members open fire at army planes in an attack on Culiacan International Airport, with one seen using a sniper rifle to aim at jets.

Three airports across Sinaloa have been shut.

Read more: 'They were not chess pieces': Harry accused of 'war crimes' by Taliban leaders after admitting killing 25 fighters

Mexican forces captured Guzman, sparking the chaos
Mexican forces captured Guzman, sparking the chaos. Picture: Getty
Gangsters have set up blockades and torched vehicles
Gangsters have set up blockades and torched vehicles. Picture: Getty

Footage shows an attack on a plane forcing civilians to hit the floor as the fuselage is hit. Nobody was injured on the flight, which had been scheduled to take off from Culiacan to Mexico City.

Reports say the cartel has been carjacking civilians and forcing doctors to treat their wounded fighters after storming into hospitals.

Looting is also said to have broken out in Culiacan as the city becomes gripped by anarchy.

Ovidio Guzman was captured by Mexican security forces on Wednesday, sparking the violence.

He had been captured in 2019 but got released after the cartel unleashed a similar wave of bloodshed in a demand to get him freed. The decision to send him straight to the capital was designed to avoid that happening again, with authorities humiliatingly letting him go in 2019 to avoid more carnage.

Guzman was captured by Mexican forces
Guzman was captured by Mexican forces. Picture: US State Department

Guzman is accused of running about 11 meth labs across Sinaloa state, making up to 2,200kg of it every month, and is behind several murders, including a singer who refused to perform at his wedding, and several informants.

His father El Chapo, who was captured after a dramatic armed raid, was sent to the US to serve life in prison in ADX Florence, a maximum security prison in Colorado.

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