Posted on January 6, 2023

Mexican City Erupts in Violence, Residents Ordered to Stay Indoors After Drug Cartel Leader’s Arrest

Reuters, January 5, 2023

Canada’s government is urging Canadians in Mexico’s Sinaloa state to limit their movements and shelter in place amid an outbreak of violence in the country’s northwest following the arrest of a notorious drug cartel’s leader.

Mexican authorities on Thursday confirmed the arrest of Ovidio Guzman, a 32-year-old senior member of the Sinaloa Cartel and a son of jailed kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

His arrest unleashed a violent backlash by gang gunmen on Thursday that shut the airport in the city of Culiacan as authorities told residents to stay indoors.

Videos shared on social media appeared to show heavy fighting overnight in Culiacan, the main city in the northern state of Sinaloa, with the sky lit up by helicopter gunfire.

The city’s airport was the target of violence, with Mexican airline Aeromexico saying one of its planes had been hit by gunfire ahead of a scheduled flight to Mexico City. {snip}


The Culiacán and Mazatlán airports were closed and all flights were suspended at Los Mochis airport until further notice, Global Affairs said.

On Thursday afternoon, Aeromexico announced it was also suspending operations in Obregón, a six-hour drive northwest of Culiacan.

Ovidio, who has become a key figure in the cartel since the arrest of his father, was briefly detained in 2019 but was quickly released to end violent retribution in Culiacan from his gang. The incident was an embarrassing setback for the government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.


Ovidio’s latest capture comes before a North American leaders’ summit in Mexico City next week, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden will attend, and at which security issues are on the agenda.

One of the Mexican officials said Guzman’s arrest was likely to prove a welcome addition to U.S.-Mexico cooperation on security ahead of Biden’s visit. The United States had offered a $5 million US reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Ovidio.


A surge in overdose deaths in the United States, fuelled by the synthetic opioid fentanyl, has led to increased pressure on Mexico to combat the organizations — such as the Sinaloa Cartel — responsible for producing and shipping the drug.