Terrified plane passengers caught in cartel crossfire take cover, as all hell breaks loose over arrest of El Chapo’s son

Passengers on an Aeromexico flight found themselves in the middle of a gunfight early on Thursday after violence erupted when Ovidio Guzman, the son of notorious drug lord El Chapo and a senior member of the Sinaloa cartel, were arrested.

(Video Credit: ABC7)

“That’s an attack plane, Dad,” passenger David Tellez’s child told him as they spotted Mexican military aircraft touching down alongside their Aeromexico passenger plane, according to the New York Post.

That’s when gunfire erupted and all hell broke loose.

“As we were accelerating for take-off, we heard gunshots very close to the plane, and that’s when we all threw ourselves to the floor,” Tellez recounted after his harrowing incident in the northern city of Culiacan.

According to Aeromexico, no one on the flight was hurt in the incident. After the shootout, the Culiacan airport closed while security forces patrolled the city. Burned vehicles could be seen everywhere and police attempted to contain the violence the best they could.


Tellez, 42, was traveling with his wife and children, aged 7, 4, and 1, after spending Christmas with their family. All of them were traumatized by the event.

They arrived at the airport just in time for their 8:24 am flight. Their trip to the airport was uneventful despite coming across road blockades that were set up after overnight gun battles. At that point, Guzman’s arrest had not been confirmed. He is also known as “The Mouse” and has been moved to maximum security. Nervous security guards urged travelers to enter the airport quickly, not knowing what would happen next.

“Authorities were not saying anything,” Tellez said in a phone interview, according to the New York Post.

A rumor circulated in the airport that gang members were there, so the family hid in a bathroom. That turned out to not be true and the Aeromexico travelers boarded quickly just wanting to get out of there in one piece.

Just as flight AM165 was getting ready to take off for Mexico City, a number of military planes landed on the runway which was not a good sign.


When Tellez saw the development, he took out his cell phone to record it. He took several videos showing two large air force transport aircraft, smaller, fighter-like attack aircraft, and military trucks on the tarmac. That was when he started to hear gunshots in the distance.

Viral video shows passengers crouching in the aisle of the plane as a child cried and everyone wondered if they were in danger.

The next thing that happened was a flight attendant announcing that the engine had been hit which caused it to leak. The passengers were told to disembark by the crew and they were directed to a windowless waiting room in the airport.

There is no information on who was shooting at whom on the tarmac.

Tellez and his family are planning to take another flight on Friday.

“We prefer to stay at the airport until it’s safe to leave,” he commented. “The city is worse. There is a lot of shooting and confusion.”

According to Reuters, State Governor Ruben Rocha said “seven members of the security forces had been killed, including a colonel, and 21 had been injured as well as eight civilians.”

Rocha claims there were 12 clashes with the security forces, 25 acts of looting, and 250 vehicles that had been set on fire and used to block roads.

“This is a significant blow to the Sinaloa cartel and major victory for the rule of law. It will not, however, impede the flow of drugs into the U.S. Hopefully, Mexico will extradite him to the U.S.,” Mike Vigil, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s former chief of International Operations, told the AP on Thursday.

President Biden is due to visit Mexico for a North American leaders’ summit next week. He will now arrive on Sunday, a day earlier than previously expected, according to a tweet by Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard. No reason was given for the early arrival.

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