Less than a week after being kidnapped in a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, Jesus Alfredo Guzmán Salazar, the youngest son of Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, has been freed, relatives told AFP.
Alfredo Guzmán was abducted along with five other men early Monday morning by a group of armed men. He and the others were released on Friday night, according to AFP.
“They were negotiating all this time, but now are free and well,” the Guzmán family relative told AFP. Some of the captured men were already back in Sinaloa state, according to the source. The details of the negotiation are not known at this point.
Alfredo’s release was first reported on Saturday afternoon by the Sinaloa-based newspaper Rio Doce, which cited two different sources.
Alfredo and his older brother, Ivan Archivaldo — who was initially reported to have been kidnapped, as well — have both been implicated in their father’s drug-trafficking organization and are thought to have assumed larger roles in the cartel since their father’s arrest earlier this year.
Investigators said earlier this week that the gunmen behind the kidnapping were likely members of the Jalisco New Generation cartel (CJNG), which is considered the Sinaloa cartel’s only real rival in terms of power in Mexico. The governors of Jalisco and Nayarit, which borders Jalisco to the north, both said they were preparing for violence in the aftermath of the abduction.
The Sinaloa cartel and CJNG are believed to have cooperated in the past, but more recently they have reportedly clashed in several areas of western Mexico, including the strategically important smuggling areas of the Baja Peninsula and in Colima state.
Mexico’s attorney general’s office said it was "still working on the investigation" when contacted by AFP about Alfredo’s reported release.
The elder Guzmán was recaptured in northeast Sinaloa state in January this year, after he escaped from the high-security Altiplano prison in central Mexico in July 2015. After his arrest, Guzmán was rejailed at Altiplano until May, when Mexican officials suddenly moved him to a prison near Ciudad Juarez in northern Mexico.
Earlier this week, a judge ruled that the Sinaloa cartel chief should be transferred back to Altiplano, a move that may happen in the next few weeks.