According to the Defense Ministry, 29 individuals, consisting of 10 soldiers and 19 accused criminals, were killed during the violent turmoil that followed the arrest of cartel leader Ovidio "El Ratón" Guzmán in Culiacán, Sinaloa, said reports.

Son of imprisoned cartel boss Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán and head of the "Los Chapitos" section of the Sinaloa Cartel, Guzmán, was apprehended by Mexican security agents early on Thursday, Jan. 5, morning in a town in the municipality of Culiacán, which led to the break out of the violence.

“[The criminals] managed to regroup with the intention of rescuing Ovidio ‘N,’” Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval explained at a press conference on Jan. 6. “The aggressors used 50-caliber machine guns, so it was necessary to give fire-cover from airplanes.”

In Jesús María, the town in the municipality of Culiacán where Guzmán was arrested, military aircraft opened fire from overhead early Thursday morning.

Following the arrest, Guzmán's supporters attacked Culiacán several times with weapons and set up 19 blockades, terrifying the city for around 12 hours.

Air traffic to the city was suspended, and the airports in Culiacán, Mazatlán, and Los Mochis were shut down after gunmen opened fire on one military and one commercial aircraft at Culiacán International Airport. Transport across the area was also halted on several bus lines. As the conflict raged throughout the city, authorities ordered all businesses and schools to close and urged the locals to seek shelter.

“The authorities counted 19 dead among the lawbreakers and detained 21 people, seizing Barrett rifles, machine guns, 26 handguns, magazines, cartridges, and 13 vehicles,” Cresencio said. “Ten soldiers, emphasizing their values, lost their lives in the line of duty.”

Authorities emphasized that no civilians were killed despite the chaos, portraying this as proof that AMLO's strategy for taking on the drug gangs is effective.

Rosa Icela Rodrguez, minister of security and citizen safety, stated, "We didn't come to win a war; we came to build peace."

Ovidio Guzmán was apprehended in October 2019 but quickly freed after a similar wave of violent retaliation by Sinaloa Cartel members, nicknamed the "Culiacanazo," raised concerns about significant civilian casualties. At the time, AMLO stated that he agreed with the controversial decision.

By Friday, Jan. 6, morning, local authorities reported a return to relative calm in Culiacán.

Representational image of a blast. Pixabay.

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