The arrest in Culiacán of Ovidio Guzmán, son of jailed drug trafficker Joaquín ‘Chapo’ Guzmán, left 29 dead, including a colonel. Another 35 soldiers were injured. Biden arrives in Mexico this Sunday to talk, among other topics, about the urgency of stopping the ravages of drug trafficking.
Ovidio Guzmán obtained this weekend a judicial suspension against an immediate extradition to the United States, which requires him for drug trafficking. Washington claims Ovidio Guzmán and his brother Joaquín for conspiracy to export cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana to that country. For each one he offers a five million dollar reward.
A judge established that the United States has until March 5 to formalize its extradition request.
The Mexican government accuses Guzmán of crimes against health and related to firearms, although there are also investigations related to organized crime.
Guzmán, known by the alias “El Ratón”, was arrested on Thursday in the northwestern city of Culiacán, in an operation that left 10 soldiers and 19 suspected criminals dead. Among the soldiers who died is a colonel, while another 35 soldiers were wounded by bullets and 21 gunmen were arrested, the official added.
Thousands of Mexican soldiers retook control of Culiacán (northwest) on Friday, converted into a theater of war after the capture of Ovidio Guzmán.
Nearly 4,500 troops remain deployed in Culiacán and nearby places, after the offensive unleashed by the Sinaloa Cartel to rescue their boss, who is being held hundreds of kilometers away in El Altiplano, the high-security prison from where his father escaped in 2015. A year later he was recaptured and sentenced to life in prison in the United States.
The uniformed officers removed dozens of stolen and burned cars throughout the city -of 800,000 inhabitants-, in whose streets fierce battles were fought on Thursday that reached the international airport.
Washington, which is demanding Guzmán’s extradition, accused of leading methamphetamine trafficking, welcomed the capture this Friday.
Some of the most dramatic scenes after the capture took place at the Culiacán airport, where a commercial plane was hit by a bullet moments before taking off and the passengers had to throw themselves to the ground to get to safety.
Two Air Force aircraft were also hit and had to make emergency landings, revealed Sandoval.
The Mexican government denied that the arrest was to curry favor with Biden and stressed that Washington did not participate in the operation, which offered a reward of five million dollars for alias “El Ratón”.
“We act autonomously, independently, there is cooperation and there will continue to be, but we make the decisions as a sovereign government,” the leftist president said on Friday.
The leader of the “Chapitos”, as the heirs of “Chapo” Guzmán are known, had already been arrested on October 17, 2019 in Culiacán, but was released by order of López Obrador in the middle of a riot by the criminal organization .
The president then defended his decision, stating that a bloodbath was avoided, when military contingents were surrounded by civilians with long weapons.
López Obrador stressed that this time it was “completely different”, since the operation was carried out on the outskirts and not in the heart of Culiacán so as not to put the population at risk.