Mexican president says he ‘supported’ decision to release El Chapo’s son

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.”

Heavily armed gunmen in four-by-four trucks fought an intense battle against Mexican security forces Thursday in the city of Culiacan
AFP via Getty Images

“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

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