El Chapo’s Son Arrested

By Victor Josifovski

National/World Editor

On Jan. 5, Mexican authorities apprehended and arrested Olvidio Guzmán, the son of the notorious cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, in Culiacán, Sinaloa. The arrest came the day before US President Joe Biden’s visit to Mexico for the North American Leaders’ Summit, and it sparked both political questioning and waves of cartel violence within the city.

Labeled a “high ranking member of the Sinaloa Cartel” by the Department of State, Guzman’s arrest marks the second time Mexican police have detained him, with the first being in 2019, when Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador ordered Guzman released following reactionary cartel violence throughout Sinaloa. In a similar fashion, cartel members engulfed the city of Culiacán in crime in the hours after the arrest, with barriers, looting, and shootings reported across the city.

While Mexican military and police forces clashed with cartel members, officials grounded flights at the Culiacan airport, with the National Guard securing the runway. Aeromexico, a Mexican airline, even reported that a bullet, likely produced by nearby crossfire, struck one of its planes. 

As a result of his involvement in the Sinaloa Cartel, which smuggles Fentanyl and other narcotics into the United States, Guzman is high on the US Department of State’s wanted list. With the Mexican government having now transferred Guzman to Mexico City and its federal prosecutor, the Department of State likely seeks to extradite Guzman to the United States, where his father is currently serving a life sentence in federal prison. 

Due to the timing of the arrest, many think that Obrador ordered the raid to demonstrate Mexican stability and determination to curb cartel violence, ahead of a conference with both President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The move is a stark deviation from Obradors’ previous policy of non-violence and appeasement, leading the former chief of Foreign Operations at the Drug Enforcement Administration, Matt Donahue, to call the arrest a “political play or stunt.” 

In the coming days, months, or years, how Guzman’s arrest plays out remains to be seen, as President Obrador will have to work between the watchful eye of the US government and the blistering retaliation from the Sinaloa Cartel. In the meantime, Guzman remains in the hands of Mexican authorities, and the struggle of combating the drug trade continues. 

(Sources: CNN, Time, USA Today, Reuters, NY Times) 

Categories: News, World

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