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Police release El Chapo's son amid shootout with Sinaloa drug cartel

By Darryl Coote
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After hours of running gunbattles in the city of Culiacan, the current whereabouts of one of Chapo's sons Ovid Guzman, who was captured by security forces but possibly released hours later, is unknown. Photo by Luis Gerardo Magana/EPA-EFE
After hours of running gunbattles in the city of Culiacan, the current whereabouts of one of Chapo's sons Ovid Guzman, who was captured by security forces but possibly released hours later, is unknown. Photo by Luis Gerardo Magana/EPA-EFE

Oct. 18 (UPI) -- A son of convicted drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was arrested in Mexico before a gun battle erupted between security forces and the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel, forcing police to release the suspect to prevent bloodshed, authorities said.

Accused of being a leading member of the cartel, Ovidio Guzman Lopez, 28, was briefly detained Thursday in Culiacan, Sinaloa, by Mexican security forces after he was discovered in a house during a routine patrol, Mexico's Security Minister Alfonso Durazo Monrano confirmed in a video posted to Twitter.

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However, the patrol was met with heavily armed cartel gunmen, who opened fire on the security patrol, forcing them to retreat into the house for safety, Durazo said, adding the heavy gunfire prompted them to release Guzman.

"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," he said.

The senior Guzman, the former leader of the Sinaloa gang, was sentenced to life plus 30 years in prison in July following a three-month court case where he was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, drug trafficking and money laundering.

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Two of his sons, Ovidio Guzman Lopez and Joaquin Guzman Lopez, were indicted in February on charges of conspiring to distribute drugs in the United States.

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