Ten soldiers and 19 suspected criminals were killed in an operation to arrest a son of jailed drug trafficker Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, Mexico’s government said Friday, with a dramatic shootout sowing terror at an airport.
Thousands of soldiers retook control of the Sinaloa cartel stronghold of Culiacan, which resembled a war zone after furious gunmen went on the rampage to try to free their boss.
Ovidio Guzman was captured in the northwestern city on Thursday and flown to Mexico City before being transferred to the high-security Altiplano prison in central Mexico from which "El Chapo" once escaped.
The 32-year-old, nicknamed "El Raton" (The Mouse), had allegedly helped to run his father’s operations since the former Sinaloa cartel boss was extradited to the United States in 2017.
A colonel who commanded an infantry battalion was among those killed after his team came under attack following the arrest, Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval told reporters.
Another 35 soldiers sustained gunshot wounds and were taken to hospital, while 21 gunmen were arrested.
Sandoval said a civilian airliner that was about to take off from Culiacan International Airport, as well as two Mexican Air Force aircraft, were hit by gunfire as cartel henchmen tried to free Ovidio Guzman.
The military planes "had to make an emergency landing" after receiving "a significant number of impacts," said Sandoval.
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