Chapo Guzman’s son confirmed among group kidnapped from tourist resort of Puerto Vallarta

Joaquin El Chapo Guzman s son has been confirmed to be among a group of men seized from a restaurant in the popular tourist hub of Puerto Vallarta1, as Mexico s tourist board scrambled to reassure visitors that the resort was safe, and the country braced itself for a war between rival cartels.

Seven gunmen stormed the La Leche restaurant, along the tourist strip of the beach resort, in the early hours of Monday, and seized six men who reportedly had bodyguards outside. Eduardo Almaguer, attorney general for the state of Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is located, said immediately that the group were “not ordinary tourists”. On Tuesday night he confirmed that 29-year-old Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar was among a half-dozen men abducted. He said the kidnappers were from the rival Jalisco New Generation cartel.

“That’s a pretty gutsy move,” said Samuel Logan, managing partner at the business and security consulting firm Southern Pulse, said of the kidnapping. He warned it could spark a battle between the rival gangs.

“It could indicate an escalation,” he said.

“And if anything I think it will be the next week to 10 days are going to confirm that.

These guys aren’t going to wait around to push back.”

Mr Almaguer had earlier told Mexican radio, on Tuesday morning, that “it is presumed,” though not yet certain, that a second son, Ivan Archivaldo Guzman, was also among the kidnapped men. The elder Guzman is thought to have around a dozen children2 one of whom, Edgar, was shot dead by a rival cartel in May 2008. Ivan Archivaldo, 33, is perhaps the son closest to his father s business, and is believed to have taken control of the Sinaloa cartel since Guzman was captured for the third time in January 20163.

Known as El Chapito, or Little Chapo, Ivan Archivaldo is wanted in the US on drug trafficking charges, along with his brother, Jesus Alfredo both Guzman s children with his first wife Mar a Alejandrina Salazar Hernandez. The pair have been sought since June 2012.

Ivan Archivaldo spent three years in a Mexican prison after his arrest in 2005 but was released by a judge for lack of evidence. Jesus Alfredo, who has never been arrested, was indicted in 2009 by the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of Illinois. But, despite his blood ties, Ivan Archivaldo was said to be making enemies within his father s cartel4, too. Some older members of the group resented the younger generation s flashy ways posing on Instagram with guns and wild animals including tigers and thought they were jeopardising business by being too high profile.

Others believed that Ivan Archivaldo was the one who encouraged his father to make a film of his life, and spurred his interest in meeting the Mexican actress Kate del Castillo and Sean Penn. Their meeting with Guzman in the autumn of 2015, documented in Penn s much-ridiculed Rolling Stone article5, reportedly helped lead police to Guzman s hideout.

“There is a war right now for control of the Sinaloa cartel and a central theme in that war is the issue of attacks on his family,” said Raul Benitez, a security specialist who teaches political science at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

“People have information about the family’s movements and they want to destroy the family.”

The identity of the others seized in Puerto Vallarta has not been released. Authorities are taking fingerprints from the scene, viewing video images and checking identifications related to five vehicles – some luxury models – left behind by the victims at the restaurant.

Mr Almaguer said “several of the victims had false identities,” which complicated efforts to determine who they were.

Who is ‘El Chapo’?6

Alejandro Hope, a Mexico City-based security analyst, told AP that it was unusual that a group of alleged cartel members would be taken without a shot being fired.

“It’s a bit surprising that in effect they were drug traffickers but didn’t have any security,” said Mr Hope. The group were reportedly celebrating, with dinner and wine flowing. They were seized at 1am from the restaurant, not far from the beach.

And Puerto Vallarta officials were scrambling to reassure tourists.

Aristoteles Sandoval, governor of Jalisco, said on his official Twitter account that such violence would not be tolerated.

“To the residents and tourists of Puerto Vallarta, I inform you that we have reinforced security so that you can go on as usual,” he wrote.

References

  1. ^ Puerto Vallarta (www.discountholidays.info)
  2. ^ thought to have around a dozen children (www.discountholidays.info)
  3. ^ captured for the third time in January 2016 (www.discountholidays.info)
  4. ^ making enemies within his father s cartel (www.discountholidays.info)
  5. ^ Penn s much-ridiculed Rolling Stone article (www.discountholidays.info)
  6. ^ Who is ‘El Chapo’? (cf-particle-html.eip.discountholidays.info)

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