The Mexican city of Guadalajara was under siege for at least 10 hours Tuesday night as a shootout between alleged members of the ruthless Jalisco New Generation Cartel and official forces took over the streets.
The gunfights started Tuesday night simultaneously in several parts of the city, including the posh neighborhood of Zapopan, according to local reports.
Images shared on Twitter showed at least one bus burning and several armed men carjacking people at stop lights. In another clip, alleged members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) are seen lined up in a caravan and firing their high-calibre weapons in the air.
In another clip, alleged narcos yelled “we are people of El Mencho”—leader of the CJNG—and set a convenience store on fire with several civilians inside. The video appears to have been filmed by the perpetrators.
The attacks happened simultaneously in the two states of Jalisco and Guanajuato, according to news reports.
The incident broke out after the arrest of Ricardo Ruiz, known as “RR” or “Doble R”, one of the highest ranking members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, according to Mexican press reports.
Mexican authorities have not yet confirmed the apprehension of Ruiz, but said there were 14 men arrested during the shootouts, all alleged members of CJNG.
“It was a very violent reaction by the criminals,” Ricardo Mejía Berdeja, Mexico’s Security Undersecretary said in a security meeting Wednesday morning.
Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said the attacks began after several cartel members were meeting when the Mexican military “arrived to make several apprehensions.”
López Obrador didn’t elaborate further on who they arrested or what organization they belonged to.
The arrest of Ruiz would be one of the biggest hits to date against the CJNG by Mexican authorities.
Ruiz, also known as “The YouTuber”, is said to be the man behind the Jalisco Cartel New Generation’s propaganda videos. The videos usually feature several armed men dressed in tactical uniforms with the cartel initials “CJNG” stamped on their bulletproof vests.
Mexican authorities have pointed out Ruiz as the top armed commander for the Jalisco Cartel operating in the states of Jalisco, Michoacán, and Colima. Ruiz is also under investigation for the killing of Venezuelan model Daisy Ferrer in 2012 and the murder of former Jalisco State tourism secretary José de Jesús Gallegos in 2013.
Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro addressed the attacks Wednesday and said no one was hurt during the shootouts.
“As a consequence of a shootout between the Mexican army and members of organized crime, several vehicles were set on fire trying to stop security corporations from entering the area,” Alfaro said on Twitter.
The U.S. consulate in Guadalajara issued a warning asking people to seek secure shelter and notify friends and family of their safety.
“Local authorities and media are reporting multiple road blockades, burning vehicles, and shootouts between Mexican security forces and unspecified criminal elements in various parts of the Guadalajara metropolitan area,” the consulate said.