Significant gunfire was reported in multiple areas of Culiacán, the capital city of Sinaloa state, starting at approximately 15:00 (local time) on Thursday, October 17. According to media reports, the security operation is targeting Ovidio Guzmán López, the son of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán. A heavy security presence has been deployed throughout the city, with police officers engaging suspected cartel members armed with automatic weapons. Shootings were reported the Tres Ríos area, the Plaza Fórum de Culiacán shopping center, and the Obregón. According to social media posts, shops and businesses are closing due to the fighting and all public transportation service has been suspended.
Unconfirmed local media reports on Thursday evening said that Ovidio has been arrested but details are still emerging. The situation remains fluid and further engagements between security forces and cartel members are possible over the coming hours.
El Chapo is the former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, who was arrested in 2016 before being extradited to the US. The capture of drug-cartel leaders in recent years has led to the fragmentation of their organizations into smaller armed groups that often seek to fill the vacuums left behind with violence, especially in the northeastern part of Mexico.
Individuals in Sinaloa state are advised to monitor developments to the situation and adhere to instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
Due to extreme levels of violence linked to the presence of various armed groups, some Western governments advise against travel to various parts of the country, notably the states of Guerrero, Michoacán, Colima, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas, as well as the northeastern border with the US.
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