Mexican Army Reinforcements Arrive in Culiacán, Sinaloa

Mexican troops arrive at a military base in Culiacan, Mexico, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019.
AP Photo/Augusto Zurita

The government of Mexico deployed 230 Mexican Army Special Forces personnel who arrived in Culiacán, Sinaloa, on Friday night in response to cartel violence that broke out throughout the city on Thursday afternoon. The deployment of additional security elements resulted from a cartel rampage that exploded in Culiacán after the capture of the son of the notorious and imprisoned drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. The Mexican government released the drug lord’s son after security forces became overwhelmed by the cartel response.

The Mexican government announced the arrival of 230 Mexican Army Special Forces Personnel late Friday night in the beleaguered city of Culiacán. The personnel from the Ministry of National Defense (Sedena) is part of a unit with specialized weapons, tactics, and quick response training.

The troops are tasked with strengthening overall security in the state capital of Culiacán, in the northern pacific state of Sinaloa and protecting citizens, according to the comandante of the Tercera Región Militar, General Carlos Ramón Carrillo del Villar. During an interview with local media, General Carrillo del Villar responded to reporters asking if they were going to engage organized crime directly. The general responded, “no.” The comandante noted that the primary mission of his personnel was to protect the citizens of the city.

The elite army personnel arrived Friday night at Mexican Military Air Base number 10 in two separate military transport planes. Officials did not disclose the length of stay of the additional troops.

The Thursday afternoon capture of Ovidio Guzmán López, aka “El Ratón Nuevo,” a son of “El Chapo” Guzman and his controversial subsequent release came after pressure and numerous acts of violence carried out by Sinaloa cartel gunmen in the city. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said his security staff decided to release Guzman to preserve the peace after the Sinaloa Cartel deployed hundreds of cartel operatives throughout Culiacán.

Ovidio Guzmán López and his older brother Joaquín Guzmán López, are listed in a February 2019 unsealed indictment out of Arizona. They are both charged with a “conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana for importation into the United States.” A federal court in the Eastern District of New York convicted their father, notorious drug lord Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka “El Chapo,” win a jury trial for his activities as the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce completed work assignments in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year tour in Monterrey, Mexico, for the U.S. Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program.

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