A bungled police operation in Mexico yesterday briefly led to the detention of Ovidio Guzmán López, a son of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, the infamous former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel who is now in prison in the United States. Mexican security personnel eventually turned him over to cartel gunmen after the arrest prompted a raging gun battle with extremely heavily armed fighters, including some with American-made Barrett .50 caliber anti-materiel rifles and others riding in gun trucks packing .50 caliber M2 machine guns, the latter of which have become a fixture in Mexico’s drug war over the past decade.
Mexican National Guard troops and police personnel launched the operation in Culiacán, the capital of Mexico’s Sinaloa State, on Oct. 17, 2019. Culiacán, and Sinaloa broadly, which sits on the Pacific Ocean, has long been a major stronghold of the Sinaloa Cartel and is where it takes its name from. The Mexican government appears to have hoped that the operation would be discreet and quick. After the fighting began, Mexican Security Minister Alfonso Durazo issued an initial statement claiming that security forces had simply been on a routine patrol in the area when they began taking fire from a house and subsequently found Ovidio inside. It has since emerged that this was a pre-planned mission.