Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Friday that he backed the decision by authorities to release a son of convicted notorious drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman following his brief capture in the Sinaloa state.
“It was decided to protect people’s lives, and I agreed,” López Obrador told reporters during his regular morning press conference in Oaxaca, according to local media.
“It’s not about massacres,” the president continued. “Catching a criminal cannot be more valuable than people’s lives. They made a decision and I supported it.”
Sinaloa cartel gunmen overpowered Mexican authorities Thursday in Culiacan after they detained Ovidio Guzman Lopez, who is wanted in the US on drug-trafficking charges.
The capture of Lopez led to an all-out cartel war, prompting wild gun battles throughout the city in Mexico’s Sinaloa state and a large-scale prison break of a group of inmates.
State public security secretary Cristóbal Castañeda said late Thursday that 21 people were wounded in the chaos and 27 inmates escaped a city prison.
López Obrador said the decision to let Lopez go free “was made to protect the citizens.”
“You can’t fight a fire with fire,” López Obrador said. “That is the difference of this strategy in relation to what past government have done.”
The president added: “We don’t want any deaths. We don’t want war. This takes work for many to understand, but the strategy that was applied in the past turned the country into a cemetery and we no longer want that.”
López Obrador repeatedly stood by the decision, saying, “We have no doubt that this was the best decision.”
During the press conference, a local reporter asked López Obrador whether President Trump asked for the capture of El Chapo’s son, to which López Obrador only responded: “I respect you.”
José Luis González Meza, a lawyer for El Chapo’s family, told The Associated Press that Guzmán’s family has said “Ovidio is alive and free”
In July, a Brooklyn federal judge sentenced El Chapo — the once-powerful leader of the Sinaloa cartel — to life in prison after he was convicted on a slew of drug-trafficking charges.
With Post wires
This article was originally posted here