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Scores of cartel gunmen storm Culiacán, force release of El Chapo’s son shortly after his arrest

Gun battles erupted and fires blazed in Culiacán, Mexico, after a son of infamous drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera was captured by authorities and the city was besieged by scores of cartel members armed with military-grade weapons and vehicles.

El Chapo’s son, Ovidio Guzmán López, was captured by a National Guard contingent after it was fired upon while on patrol in Culiacán — the capital of the state of Sinaloa and home of the violent Sinaloa Cartel. El Chapo ran the cartel, which is Mexico’s most powerful, for decades before being arrested and extradited to the U.S.

After news of the younger Guzman’s arrest began to circulate, cartel henchmen stormed the city and widespread violence broke out, forcing authorities to free the detainee. “The decision was taken to retreat from the house, without Guzman, to try to avoid more violence in the area and preserve the lives of our personnel and recover calm in the city,” Minister Alfonso Durazo Monraño said.

Videos circulating on social media show violence, panic, and the astounding firepower the cartel gunmen have at their disposal. Cartel members set up roadblocks, fired on police, freed and armed many prison inmates, and inundated the city with automatic gunfire as residents took cover wherever they could.