Federal Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo has rejected claims that a second son of convicted drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was arrested and released during a security operation in Culiacán, Sinaloa, last week.
Durazo said on Thursday that Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar was actually one of the instigators of the wave of attacks across Culiacán after his half-brother Ovidio Guzmán López was arrested on October 17.
Sinaloa Cartel gunmen quickly surrounded the house in which Guzmán López was arrested, outnumbering security forces and forcing the security cabinet to take the decision to free the 28-year-old suspected narco known as “El Ratón” (The Mouse).
Durazo said last week that the decision was taken “to try to avoid more violence in the area and preserve the lives of our personnel and recover calm in the city.”
A former head of international operations for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) claimed this week that Guzmán Salazar was also arrested by security forces. Mike Vigil accused the government of “distorting the truth” about what happened in Culiacán.
The New York Times, citing sources who asked not to be identified, and other media outlets also reported that the 36-year-old Guzmán Salazar, who is wanted in the United States on trafficking charges, was arrested and released.
However, at a press conference in Oaxaca, Durazo said that “Iván Archivaldo was not on the property that was brought under control by the [security] personnel who participated” in the Culiacán operation.
“He was outside and in fact, he was one of the instigators of the mobilization of several members of the criminal organization in Culiacán,” he added.
He rejected a claim that the DEA participated in the operation alongside the army, the National Guard and Federal Police although authorities have confirmed that United States authorities requested the arrest and extradition of Guzmán López.
“This government has absolutely nothing to hide. We’re going to inform . . . before deputies and senators to clear up any doubts about the issue,” Durazo said.
“. . . A lot of incorrect versions have been disseminated about the events in Culiacán. I would recommend taking the information that circulates without any filter or surety with a dose of skepticism,” he said.
The security secretary reiterated that the insecurity plaguing Mexico was inherited from past governments and criticized their strategy to combat organized crime.
“The strategy to confront organized crime [by attacking] their operational capacity and strength, as was done in the past, is wrong and if we continue it we’ll fail,” Durazo said.
“We have to combat [criminal organizations] as economic entities and confront their financial strength, that’s what gives them the capacity . . . to operate” he added.
“In that sense, we’ve arrested 1,995 people who were part of the narco financial structure in Mexico. Moreover, bank accounts with 5.16 billion pesos and US $47 million have been frozen and this process will continue until the criminal groups are weakened.”
President López Obrador said Friday morning that a report on the investigation will be made public next Tuesday or Wednesday. He promised a report that would be “exhaustive, completely transparent and truthful.”