LA TUNA, Sinaloa — Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s hometown in Sinaloa was targeted by an armed group that raided the drug kingpin’s mother’s home and forced scores of families to flee, local authorities said.
Citing Mexican media outlets, UPI reported about 150 heavily armed men stormed into Guzman’s hometown of La Tuna and other nearby communities in Sinaloa state on Saturday June 11. The gunmen looted homes.
Mexican news outlet Riodoce reported multiple people died during shootouts in the raid, though local officials did not confirm the reports of deaths.
The house of Consuelo Loera, Guzman’s mother, was sacked in the raid. Several vehicles were taken, and telephone and Internet services were cut. Vehicles and possessions were also stolen from nearby communities.
Riodice reported the attack was organized by members of the Beltran Leyva Organization and by Fausto Isidro Meza Flores, who is known as “Chapito.”
The BLO was part of Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel until 2008. “Chapito” is believed to have organized a criminal group called “Oficina” that consists of former members of cartels, including from the Zetas, the Gulf cartel and the BLO.
Meza Flores’ criminal enterprise is considered the primary rival of Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel in the state.
“As a result of this rivalry, the Meza Flores [drug trafficking organization] has engaged in an extremely violent turf war with the Sinaloa Cartel which has resulted in the quadrupling of drug-war killings in the last four years and an increase in kidnappings and arson within the state of Sinaloa,” the U.S. Department of Treasury said in a 2013 statement, adding that the group “has been responsible for the distribution of large quantities of methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and cocaine to the United States” since 2000.
State Gov. Mario Lopez Valdez, though, said there has been no confirmation the violence was prompted by a drug cartel war. He said it appeared to be a family conflict and denied reports of any shootings or deaths.
Mexican newspaper Noroeste cited officials in the Badiraguato government, who said the raids prompted up to 350 families to flee the area.