Several reports are indicating Ovidio Guzman and Ivan Archivaldo Guzman, the sons of infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, have been taken into Mexican military custody in Culiacan, Sinaloa. While the surprising military operation is enough for headlines, it is the chaos that followed which highlights the dangers of the current drug war.
According to VICE, two sources have confirmed the capture of Ovidio Guzman. While it is reported that Ivan Archivaldo Guzman, 39, has either been captured or killed after a fight with Mexican military soldiers.
Mexico's Security and Public Protection Secretary Alfonso Durazo confirmed details in the VICE report via a statement, noting that Ovidio Guzman was discovered by a patrol alongside four cartel members at a safe house in the city.
Before the news began to spread, images and videos began to pop up on social media showing chaos in the streets. This includes alleged cartel vehicles with large mounted machine guns firing at Mexican military forces, trucks and cars engulfed in flame and the roads in and out of the city being blocked.
"The city's taken, the airport is paralyzed," one resident said anonymously according to VICE News. "We've never lived anything like this ever, and whoever says this is not new is lying."
VICE adds that reports in the afternoon noted a message circulating on WhatsApp urging residents to stay indoors and off the streets as gunmen from outside the city were coming as reinforcements. Videos shared on Twitter seem to support this idea but can't be confirmed.
"There are armed people from all the municipalities of Sinaloa, people of Chihuahua, Durango and Guadalajara, [coming] to rescue the children of El Chapo and two more capos who are unknown," the WhatsApp message said according to VICE. "That is why the state government has not given information because they do not know what to be careful do not leave your house if you have nothing to do on the street."
While the fate of Ivan Archivaldo Guzman is unknown, Ovidio Guzman could face the same as his father if extradited to the United States. El Chapo was sentenced to life in prison back in July after being found guilty of several charges related to his drug empire. His trial was long and hard fought win for law enforcement on both sides of the border following years of prison escapes and life on the run.
Photos have confirmed that Ovidio is in custody, wearing a light blue collard shirt, necklaces and messy black hair. He may have suffered a head injury according to an unnamed source, while VICE notes another said Guzman was fine.
Those fighting in the streets have reportedly sent warning to the police and military officials holding the children of El Chapo.
"Let him go, and go home in peace, nothing will happen to you," a voice can be heard saying in a post shared on Twitter. "If not, you're f---ed"
"Get to the families, to the families, if he's not back, f--- them," another voice can be heard saying in the clip.