Watch: This Looks Like a War – High Ranking Drug Lord Arrested in Successful Operation

A Mexican city erupted in violence Thursday after authorities arrested a major figure in the Sinaloa Cartel.

With a visit to Mexico from President Joe Biden days away, Mexico on Thursday sought to show it was attacking the drug cartels by capturing Ovidio Guzmán, the son of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, according to The Washington Post.

In retaliation, cartel forces fired on government troops, as well as helicopters and planes. Within hours, the city of Culiacán resembled a war zone, according to the Guardian.

Burning vehicles blocked roads across the city. A military air base and Culiacán international airport were attacked. The airline Aeromexico said a passenger jet was struck by a bullet as it was preparing to take off.

Video from Culiacán showed scenes of destruction.

Journalist Marcos Vizcarra said he and others were effectively held hostage in a hotel after cartel gunman seized cars to burn them in the street, according to the Los Angeles Times. Schools were closed and residents were urged to shelter in place.

“They caught him at about 4 a.m. and since then the shooting hasn’t stopped. It’s been a real mess — they’re shooting up in the air trying to bring down the [police] helicopters. The whole town is a mess,” the Guardian quoted an unnamed resident of the city as saying.

César Lara said he was walking away from the airport after arriving on a flight from Mexico City when gunfire erupted, according to The New York Times.

 Lara said he went back to the airport, which has since been on lockdown.

“The only thing I want is to be at home, in peace and calm,” Lara said.

The eruption of violence mirrored a 2019 incident in which Ovidio Guzmán was arrested, but then released after cartel forces staged a wave of violence.

John Feeley, described by the Post as a former senior U.S. diplomat in Mexico, said the arrest fit a pattern of Mexico taking action before high-profile meetings with U.S. leaders.

“I think it’s absolutely intentional and performative,” he said.


Defense Secretary Luís Cresencio Sandoval said Guzmán was taken to Mexico City after his arrest, according to the Guardian.

“When the armed forces set up a roadblock to stop several vehicles with improvised armor, [cartel] gunmen opened fire. Security forces recognized Ovidio Guzmán, who they managed to detain,” he said, adding that Guzmán had been under surveillance for six months.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.