Families in Culiacan say 140 people are missing following violent attacks in wake of Ovidio Guzman arrest

By January 13, 2023

Mexico City, Mexico — After the arrest of Sinaloa Cartel underboss Ovidio Guzman on January 5, cartel members wreaked havoc in their home city of Culiacan, Sinaloa in an effort to force his release. 

Days later, residents say that 140 people are missing in the wake of the violence. 

On January 9, residents of Jesús María, a community in Culiacan, entered the local government headquarters to report that friends and family members, including children, remain missing since the violent cartel backlash. 

According to the demonstrators, the missing are between 12 and 35 years of age, both men and women. 

Local media reported that the people of Jesús María demanded the state governor, Rubén Rocha Moya, take action to find the missing. 

They also denounced abuses by the military who had been patrolling Culiacan in an effort to quell cartel violence. They allege that security forces abused their power, illegally searching the homes of people without any connection to the attacks.  

Residents also demanded the immediate withdrawal of the military from the streets of Culiacan. 

Through his Twitter account, Sinaloa’s chief of security, Cristóbal Castañeda, applauded the support of the Mexican military while assuring that the violence seems to have subsided. 

“It should be noted that the arrival of the military troops reinforces security in the capital. There have been no new incidents in the city. The population can return to its normal activities,” said Castañeda on Twitter. 

Following the demonstration on Monday, Governor Rocha pledged to follow up on the demands of the people of Jesús María and to remove the military from the community. 

Schools in the area remain closed, and children from the small community are reportedly restarting their studies on January 16. Around 101 schools across Sinaloa are still not attending to students until the security situation is stabilized, according to reports.

During a January 6 press conference, Minister of National Defense Luis Cresencio Sandoval disclosed that the violence following Guzman’s second apprehension resulted in 29 deaths, including 10 military officers and 19 alleged members of the Sinaloa Cartel. 

In addition, Sandoval reported 35 injured military officers and 21 cartel members were arrested. 

On the day of the arrest, Culiacan’s people withstood shootings, vehicles and businesses torched, and roadblocks. Local government reported that around 250 cars were hijacked by the attackers, which were burned, or used in roadblocks across the city. 

According to authorities, the violence resulted in a loss of over USD $47,000 to the commercial sector. 

In 2019, Ovidio, one of the sons of jailed cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán-Loera, was captured by authorities. Cartel members at that time wreaked havoc on Culican, forcing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to order his release to stop the violence. 
A Mexican judge has already halted the younger Guzman’s extradition to the United States after his latest arrest.