The son of notorious Mexican drug cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán was arrested Thursday after a six-month multi-agency investigation, Mexican authorities confirmed.
During an afternoon news conference, Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval said Guzmán’s son – whom he identified only as “Ovidio” – was arrested northwest of Culiacan, Sinaloa state, early Thursday morning.
Sandoval said Guzmán was a leader of a Sinaloa faction he called “los menores” or “the juniors,” also known as “los chapitos” for the sons of El Chapo.
Guzmán’s arrest is the result of six months of inter-agency investigative and surveillance work, Sandoval said.
MEXICO PRISON BREAK: 7 KILLED IN SHUNTING OPERATION WHILE AUTHORITIES HUNT INTAINERS ESCAPING NEAR TEXAS BORDER
National Guard troops spotted SUVs, some with home-made armor, and immediately coordinated with the army as they established a perimeter around the suspect vehicles and forced the occupants to be searched.
Security forces then came under fire but were able to bring the situation under control and identify Guzmán among those present and in possession of firearms, Sandoval said.
Cartel members set up 19 roadblocks, including at Culiacan’s airport and outside the local army base, as well as all entry points into the city of Culiacan, Sandoval said, but the Air Force was able to fly Guzmán into Mexico City despite its efforts to get him into the offices of the special prosecutor for organized crime brought by the Attorney General.
Ovidio Guzmán, nicknamed “the Mouse,” wasn’t one of El Chapo’s better-known sons until an aborted operation that would capture him three years ago. This attempt also sparked violence in Culiacan, which eventually prompted President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to order the military to let him go.
MEXICAN AUTHORITIES FIND 4 HUMAN SKULLS IN PACKAGE TIED FOR US
US Homeland Security Investigations last year offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Guzmán’s arrest and/or conviction.
Alleged cartel members responded to Thursday’s operation by kidnapping residents of Culiacan and setting fire to vehicles in the cartel stronghold. Local and state authorities warned everyone to stay indoors.
Occasional gunfire continued in Culiacan into Thursday afternoon as Mexican security forces continued to clash with cartel gunmen and some people ventured out. The airports there and in several other cities in Sinaloa remained closed.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Thursday’s high-profile capture comes just days before López Obrador will host US President Joe Biden for bilateral talks, followed by their summit of North American leaders with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Drug trafficking is expected to be a major topic of conversation along with immigration.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.