A burnt-out vehicle after clashes between federal forces and armed groups in Mexico A burnt-out vehicle after clashes between federal forces and armed groups in Mexico  (AFP or licensors)

Arrest of drug lord's son sparks violent clash in Mexico

One of the sons of the jailed leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, has been arrested in Mexico, ahead of a summit of North American leaders attended by US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

By James Blears

Ovidio Guzman - son of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman - was arrested after a painstaking six-month surveillance operation, in the northern Mexican city of Culican, the stronghold of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

This comes prior to the North American Leaders Summit in Mexico City, which is set to take place on 9-10 January

Cartel gunman went on a rampage blocking highways, torching vehicles and shooting at a civilian and a military flight in the airport following the arrest.

So far, three members of the security forces have died in gunbattles.

Better organized arrest

Despite the violence, Ovidio has been sent to Mexico City under heavily armed escort, and on to the Alto Plano maximum security prison in the State of Mexico, from which his father escaped in 2015 via a tunnel. The elder Guzman was finally recaptured six months later, and eventually extradited to the United States, where he's now serving a life sentence. 

Ovidio was previously arrested in 2019, but the cartel surrounded a compound where army families lived, took hostages elsewhere, and so he was released in order to save lives.

This time, authorities are better prepared, organized and coordinated.  

The illicit, cross-border, narcotics industry is worth more than 40 billion dollars annually, with addicts in the United States needing drugs, and Mexican organized crime supplying them, via the largest transit route in the World.

This arrest, although important, significant and symbolic, will likely fail to elicit even a ripple in that smooth-running current of multi-national crime, based upon supply catering to demand. 

Listen to James Blears' report:

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06 January 2023, 12:20