A total of 60 military families were forced to flee their homes in Culiacán, Sinaloa, after last week’s ultimately aborted capture of two sons belonging to imprisoned drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. The military operation sparked a violent response from the Sinaloa Cartel, forcing the Mexican government to release at least one prisoner. Officials did not confirm if both sons were initially caught.
At least 60 military families consisting of 140 individuals fled their homes in a residential military complex in colonia 21 de Marzo. The sudden departures came after last Thursday’s attempt to capture Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, aka “El Chapito” and Ovidio Guzmán López, aka “El Ratón Nuevo,” and the ensuing violence. The operation was carried out by elements of the Mexican Army (SEDENA) and La Guardia National (National Guard-Police).
The Mexican government released El Ratón Nuevo after security forces became overwhelmed by hundreds of cartel operatives and sympathizers storming the city. Criminal operatives breached the security barriers into the Unidad Habitacional Militar complex.
According to local media reports and Breitbart Texas law enforcement sources, cartel operatives stormed the housing area and began to patrol the property–armed with an assortment of rifles and pistols. While enforcers roamed the compound firing rounds in the air, an ultimatum was sent via social media to Mexico City, demanding the immediate release of El Chapo’s son. The threats warned of mass kidnappings and murders among military families. Military family housing complexes in Mexico are similar in concept to those built in the United States. The compounds are multi-family units with schools, daycare facilities, recreational parks, and convenience stores included.
Some family members were evacuated to the headquarters of a neighboring military zone and others fled to offsite relatives or friends’ homes. The evacuation was carried out after the Sinaloa Cartel’s threats were issued online. During Thursday’s violent disturbance, an auxiliary security guard at the entrance to the compound was kidnapped along with a member of the Mexican Army. Both were later released.
Breitbart Texas previously reported when Mexico City deployed 230 Army Special Forces personnel to Culiacán on Friday in response to violence. An additional 200 troops arrived over the weekend and into Monday. The reinforcements are tasked with strengthening overall security in the state capital.
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.