Burning bus
© Reuters / Jesus Bustamante
A burning bus, set alight by cartel gunmen to block a road, is pictured during clashes with federal forces following the detention of Ovidio Guzman, son of drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, in Culiacan, Sinaloa state, Mexico October 17, 2019
In order to protect lives, Mexican authorities were forced to release the notorious drug lord Joaquin El Chapo Guzman's son after heavily armed cartel gunmen launched an assault against security forces holding their alleged boss.

Ovidio Guzman was briefly arrested after federal police patrol came under fire from a house where he was holed up with three others on Thursday afternoon. Once the cartel learned the drug lord's son had been apprehended, groups of armed criminals began attacking police all over the city with heavy firepower, blocking roads and setting vehicles on fire.

The gunmen surrounded the house where Guzman had been nabbed "with a force greater than that of the patrol," Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said.

The attacks were so vicious that authorities opted to "suspend our actions," lest the city degenerate further into a war zone.

However, the original raid on Guzman's hideout was anything but a 'routine patrol,' multiple reports alleged. Several videos show that police initially arrived at the cartel's compound in the city of Culiacan in full force - armed officers on foot, even trucks and jeeps with mounted weapons.


Yet masked gunmen working for the kingpin apparently overpowered them, trading heavy gunfire that left "blazing vehicles strewn across the street" and forced locals to take shelter in schools and supermarkets as shops closed to avoid the violence.


Authorities of El Chapo's home state of Sinaloa had no other choice but to release Guzman, in order to "protect lives," the minister emphasized.

However, several other cartel-linked individuals were detained and wounded, Secretary of Security of Sinaloa Cristobal Castañeda told El Financiero, adding that local authorities worked with the National Guard, the Army, and the Navy on the operation.

Joaquin El Chapo Guzman was sentenced to life in prison in the US in February for trafficking tons of illegal drugs and organizing a murder conspiracy, among other charges.

As the boss of the most powerful cartel in Mexico, he ran an enormous and complex international operation, moving drugs through tunnels and a fleet of vehicles with hidden compartments - even smuggling cocaine inside cans of jalapeno peppers.

The notorious Sinaloa Cartel boss bribed Mexican officials - including, allegedly, former President Enrique Pena Nieto - and prison guards, allowing him to escape from his first federal maximum security prison in 2001. He managed to escape once again in 2015, through a mile-long tunnel under his jail cell constructed by cartel engineers.

His sons, Ovidio and Ivan Archivaldo, have allegedly been running the family business since El Chapo was extradited to the US in 2017. Ismael ''El Mayo" Zambada, the real leader of the Sinaloa cartel according to El Chapo's lawyer, is believed to be feuding with the pair.