Ovidio Guzmán, nicknamed "El Raton" (The Mouse), is said to have helped continue his father's drug business after "El Chapos" (The Short One) was extradited to the United States in 2017. The US has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest.
According to Sandoval, the arrest of Ovidio Guzmán was preceded by a six-month surveillance operation to track down the 32-year-old. He was finally caught in the city of Culiacan, the capital of the state of Sinaloa. After his arrest, Guzmán Junior was flown to Mexico City and held in the Altiplano Maximum Security Prison - the same prison his father escaped from in 2015.
The arrest sparked a wave of violence in Culiacan. Enraged members of Guzmán's Sinaloa cartel attacked security forces, set up roadblocks and set vehicles on fire. According to Secretary of Defense Sandoval, 35 soldiers suffered gunshot wounds. In addition to Ovidio Guzmán, 21 other suspects were arrested. According to the government, one of the dead was a senior officer whose patrol was attacked by drug gangs.
The exchange of fire extended to the airport. A passenger plane and two military planes were hit by bullets, according to Secretary of Defense Sandoval. The military planes that were just taking off had to make an emergency landing. Images circulating online showed terrified passengers in the airport terminal crouching on the ground to avoid bullets. The city's schools were closed due to the wave of violence, and sporting events were canceled.
Ovidio Guzmán is the best known of the four Guzmán sons. According to investigators, his brothers Joaquín, Iván Archivaldo and Jésus Alfredo are also involved in drug smuggling. US authorities have accused Ovidio Guzmán of smuggling cocaine, crystal meth and cannabis into the United States. According to US investigators, he is also said to have ordered the killing of a police informant, a drug dealer and a prominent singer who refused to perform at his wedding reception.
The Sinaloa cartel, founded by "El Chapo" four decades ago, is one of the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico. Among other things, Washington has accused it of flooding the US market with fentanyl. The synthetic drug is about 50 times stronger than heroin and is responsible for countless drug-related deaths in the United States.
Ovidio Guzmán was arrested in Culiacan for the first time in October 2019. He was released after cartel members in Culiacan fought street battles with security forces. Several people were killed at the time, and public life came to a complete standstill.
Ovidio Guzmán's arrest came days before US President Joe Biden was due to visit Mexico. Security expert David Saucedo ruled out a connection between Biden's upcoming visit to Mexico and Guzmán's arrest. Rather, it is a result of "American pressure on the Mexican government" since Guzman's failed arrest in 2019.
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard ruled out a rapid extradition of Ovidio Guzmán to the United States. The 32-year-old should be tried in Mexico, he said.