The sons of notorious Sinaloa cartel head Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman were attacked on February 4, according Mexican broadcast journalist Ciro Gomez Leyva.
According to Yahoo News and other outlets, Leyva was given a single page note from Guzman’s sons stating that they were wounded in a gun battle perpetrated by one of their father’s top lieutenants, Damaso Lopez. The sons realized they “were betrayed,” according to the letter, and were shot by several gunman. Several bodyguards for the sons were reportedly killed in the gunfight, while El Chapo’s sons managed to escape alive.
While there has been no indication which of Guzman’s surviving sons were involved in the shooting, the letter reportedly indicated that Lopez set a meeting in order to discuss the August 2016 kidnapping of one of El Chapo’s sons, Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar. At the time, Guzman Salazar, 29, and five others were taken by seven armed men while dining in a Puerto Vallarta restaurant. Though Guzman Salazar and his men were released a week later, the incident was seen as a blow to the Sinaloa cartel, whose power has been diminishing since El Chapo’s return to custody in January 2016.
The kidnapping was an “important development because it affects the power structure of the Sinaloa cartel. His son was supposed to be part of the new leadership,” a Mexican official told CNN in August 2016.
The shooting is just another violent incident in a long and bloody saga involving El Chapo and his sons. One of Mexico’s most vicious cartel leaders, Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman is considered to be one of the richest and most successful drug traffickers in the world. He reportedly smuggled more than 500 tons of cocaine into the United States since the late 1980s, according to the New York Times, as well as massive amounts of heroin and methamphetamine.
Guzman remained an elusive figure even while in the custody of the Mexican police. For years, the United States tried to extradite Guzman to stand trial for numerous drug charges, but Mexican officials feared that Guzman would manage to escape a transfer to the states.
In 2001, Guzman bribed his way out of custody and disappeared for the next 13 years. El Chapo was recaptured in 2014 and Mexican officials were determined to not let him escape again.
“He’s locked up in the most reliable prison we have in Mexico and certainly once bitten twice shy,” said Eduardo Medina Mora, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States in 2014. “We will take our precautions in this case.”
Over a year later, however, El Chapo escaped the Altiplano maximum security prison through a 20-inch wide hole in a shower that led to to a mile-long tunnel equipped with ventilation, lights, and a railing for a motorcycle. Guzman once again went into hiding, compelling embarrassed authorities to go on the hunt once more.
This time, El Chapo was recaptured rather quickly in January 2016 and extradition proceedings commenced days later. Guzman’s lawyers were expected to tie up the process for up to six years, but to the surprise of many observers, he was formally extradited to the United States on the eve of President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. Some have speculated that the timing of Guzman’s extradition was suspicious, recalling a similar episode when hostages in Iran were released at the same time Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president.
Of course, President Trump made his own news with El Chapo’s sons during the campaign when someone claiming to be Ivan Archivaldo threatened him on Twitter, allegedly in retaliation for his slur against Mexicans as “rapists and criminals.” Trump naturally responded with a threat of his own.
[Featured Image by Rebecca Blackwell/AP Images]