Deadly Violence Grips Sinaloa After Cartel Leader Captured, Ahead Of Biden Visit US Issues Travel Warning
All hell broke loose in Sinaloa after Mexican security forces captured Ovidio Guzmán, son of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán and head of the Sinaloa Cartel. El Chapo is serving a life sentence at Colorado's Supermax prison.
The wave of violence throughout Sinaloa where the world’s most powerful cartel is based provoked the US Embassy to issue a travel warning.
“There has been reports of gunfire, roadblocks, and fires throughout the cities of Culiacán, Los Mochis, Guasave in Sinaloa, Mexico,” said department spokesperson Ned Price at a US Embassy briefing. “We reiterate our Travel Warning…travel to Sinaloa, remains at travel 4. We advise Americans not to travel to Sinaloa as a result.”
Heavy fighting continued overnight in Culiacán between Sinaloa cartel members and supporters and the Mexican Army, which used helicopter gunships. A commercial airplane, Aeromexico, was hit by gunfire and a Mexican air force plane was also shot at. Airports in Culiacán, Los Mochis and Mazatlan have been closed down as many highways remain blocked by burning cars and trucks.
Witnesses who spoke to EL PAÍS painted a picture of terror, where groups of armed men, on motorcycles or on foot, played cat and mouse with the authorities, seizing people’s vehicles at gunpoint as the so-called ‘Los Chapitos’ attempt to take control of the streets in Sinaloa.
Bounty On Guzmán's Head And Possible Extradition
The U.S. had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Ovidio's arrest or conviction. A surge in overdose deaths in the U.S. fueled by the synthetic opioid fentanyl has led to increased pressure on Mexico to combat such organizations as the Sinaloa cartel responsible for producing and shipping the deadly drug.
As yet it is not clear whether Ovidio will be extradited to the United States, which is the worst nightmare for drug smugglers who have been known to escape from prisons in Mexico with the greatest of ease by paying off guards and other authorities.
US-Mexico Border: Upcoming Biden Visit, Mass Prison Outbreak
Another drug kingpin associated with the Sinaloa cartel who was serving 200 years, Ernesto Alfredo Pinon de la Cruz was killed Thursday by Mexican authorities in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, four days after fleeing prison during a violent mass outbreak.
At least 20 people, including prison staff and other inmates, were killed when armored vehicles attacked the prison in the deadliest raid of its kind in recent years, reported Univision.
Meanwhile, President Biden is expected to make his first visit as president to the U.S.-Mexico border this Sunday to meet with local officials and address enforcement operations. He will then head to Mexico City for meetings with Mexican President Lopez Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau where the "Three Amigos" will focus on climate change, migration, the environment, the economy and other topics, the White House said.
Photo: R. Saavedra on Twitter