A burning truck is seen across a street during an operation to arrest the son of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Ovidio Guzman, in Culiacan, Sinaloa state, Mexico, on January 5, 2023. – Intense gunfire rocked a cartel heartland in northwestern Mexico on Thursday after security forces launched an operation in which a son of jailed drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was reportedly arrested. (Photo by Marcos Vizcarra / AFP)
Mexican security forces on Thursday captured a son of jailed drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, scoring a high-profile win in the fight against powerful cartels days before US President Joe Biden visits.
Ovidio Guzman, who was arrested in the northwestern city of Culiacan, is accused of leading a faction of his father’s notorious Sinaloa cartel, Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval told reporters.
The 32-year-old, nicknamed “El Raton” (The Mouse), has allegedly helped to run his father’s drug trafficking operations since El Chapo was extradited to the United States in 2017.
The United States had offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to Ovidio Guzman’s arrest, accusing him of being a key player in the Sinaloa cartel.
His capture — which resulted in gunfire and cars set ablaze in Culiacan — comes as Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador prepares to welcome Biden next week for a North America leaders’ summit at which security is expected to be high on the agenda.
“El Chapo” is serving a life prison sentence in the United States for trafficking hundreds of tons of drugs into the US over the course of 25 years.
However, his cartel remains one of the most powerful in Mexico.
Ovidio Guzman and one of his brothers are accused of overseeing nearly a dozen methamphetamine labs in Sinaloa as well as conspiring to distribute cocaine and marijuana, according to the US State Department.