Yesterday, in what was most likely a planned operation to arrest Ovidio Guzmán“El Chapito”, the army stormed a mansion inside a private community in Culiacan.
The operation, involving thirty soldiers, culminated with Ovidio in government custody according to American and Mexican government sources. According to the Washington Post Mexico Bureau chief; Ovidio had an arrest and extradition warrant to face a trial in the US.
I say “most likely” because during a press conference the security cabinet members they claimed that the thirty-strong comboy of soldiers was merely patrolling the area when they were attacked from inside the house.
The first official statement from the President on the matter, however, was a little different; as he claimed it was a planned operation specifically to capture Ovidio.
With. Thirty. Soldiers.
Probably in connection to the arrest, a group of around 20-60 (depending on source) convicted criminals escaped from a local prison, and as the local government scrambled to recapture them, a series of “narco blockades” started appearing across the city. Armed with high power weapons like 50. cal rifles and turrets, they started shooting a police, burning vehicles, and blocking highways.
This all occurred at around 3PM yesterday. The state government took three hours to release a statement. Most comercial activity in Culiacan today is cancelled, as well as school and most government administrative work.
It’s unclear what actually happened with Ovidio. The only evidence we have of him in custody are a couple of “leaked” photos of him wearing a military uniform in order to avoid detection, and talking on his phone. Some rumors claim that the operation to detain him was unsuccessful from the beginning.
According to Mexican law, it is ilegal to release the names or photos of detained people.
Yesterday, during the security cabinet press conference, Secretary Duarzo (the leader of the civilian security apparatus) claimed that “They had cancelled” something.
What was that?
It became clear overnight that the government, under pressure from the cartels, released Ovidio. President Obrador claimed this morning that this was in order to avoid “further casualties.”
According to new reports; a prisoner exchange was carried out; a medium level military officer and eight soldiers for Ovidio.
No death count is out yet, but it’s speculated that more than a dozen police officers and three unconnected civilians were murdered. The number of cartel members killed or detained is not specified yet.