Intense gunfire rocked a cartel heartland in northwestern Mexico on Thursday after security forces launched an operation in which a son of jailed drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was reportedly arrested.
Vehicles were set on fire and shooting shook several areas of Culiacan -- the state capital of the Guzmans' bastion, Sinaloa -- including the city's airport, an AFP reporter said.
A security source who did not want to be named told AFP that the violence had broken out after an operation to capture Ovidio Guzman, but did not confirm reports by Milenio TV and other media that he had been captured.
The drug lord's son has allegedly helped to run the notorious Sinaloa Cartel since his father was extradited to the United States in 2017.
His capture would be a high-profile win in the war on drugs as Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador prepares to welcome US President Joe Biden next week for a North America leaders' summit.
The Sinaloa state government urged people to stay at home on Thursday as the unrest sparked panic among residents seeking shelter.
Lopez Obrador told reporters that his government would announce the result of the operation later in the day.
"El Chapo" is serving a life prison sentence in the United States for trafficking hundreds of tons of drugs into the US over the course of 25 years.
However, his cartel remains one of the most powerful in Mexico.
Ovidio Guzman was captured briefly once before in 2019, but security forces freed him after his cartel waged an all-out war in response in the streets of Culiacan.
© 2023 AFP