Cartel gunmen chase away security forces, free El Chapo's son

Cartel gunmen chase away security forces, free El Chapo's son

The patrol overwhelmed the attackers and found Guzman's son, Ovidio Guzman Lopez, who is wanted by USA authorities on drug trafficking charges.

He said: "The situation turned very hard and many citizens" lives were at risk, many human beings.

Vehicles also apparently were set on fire, and barricades were set up along roads.

Compounding the chaos, 27 prisoners took advantage of the panic to escape from the local prison.

Sinaloa public safety director Cristobal Castaneda told Milenio television that there were people wounded but did not provide a casualty figure.

Some 30 soldiers and National Guardsmen had found Guzman in a house in the north-western city of Culiacan during a search on Thursday afternoon.

Images shared on Twitter show masked gunmen manning a machine gun mounted to the back of a truck on the streets of the city. People ran for cover as gunfire rattled around them, and motorists drove frantically in reverse, trying to escape the bullets.

The government's security cabinet made the decision to withdraw the troops to avoid greater loss of life. He added: "We do not want deaths".

"With the goal of safeguarding the well-being and tranquility of Culiacan society, officials in the security cabinet chose to suspend the actions", said Durazo. "We do not want war".

In an interview with Fox News, Jack Riley said: "It's a awful message to send that there are now cartel strongholds in Mexico". Guzman was briefly detained and then released after his heavily armed supporters sparked an hours-long gun battle.

Jose Reveles, the author of several books on the Sinaloa cartel, said the operation was done clumsily from both an operational and a political standpoint. "If you're going to do an operation of this size, you should do it right - guard all flanks, add security in the prison".

Guzman's drugs cartel is believed to now be led by Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada alongside El Chapo's sons - and have all been accused of distributing drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.

To boost security, Lopez Obrador has created a new National Guard - but thousands of that militarized police force's members have instead been sent to contain illegal immigration through Mexico at the behest of U.S. President Donald Trump. He was found guilty in a USA court in February of smuggling tons of drugs and sentenced to life in prison. "No one knows what is going on but everyone is afraid and they have told us to not come in to work tomorrow".

Falko Ernst, senior analyst for the International Crisis Group in Mexico, said the release of Ovidio Guzman set "a unsafe precedent" and sent a message that the state itself, including the army, could be blackmailed and was not in control. On Monday, 13 police officers were killed in a cartel ambush in the state of Michoacan, and the following day soldiers killed 14 gunmen while losing one of their own in neighbouring Guerrero state.

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