Jesús Alfredo Guzmán, a son of the jailed Mexican drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, is among a group of men abducted at gunpoint from a swanky restaurant in the Pacific resort of Puerto Vallarta early on Monday.
Eduardo Almaguer, the attorney general for the western state of Jalisco, named the 29-year-old Guzmán among the four victims he said the authorities have been able to identify so far with the help of footage from cameras around La Leche restaurant, testimony from witnesses, and evidence found in the luxury cars left behind.
Almaguer did not give any information about the other two men also missing after around seven gunmen went into the restaurant and broke up a birthday celebration that also included nine women who, he said, were not harmed.
During the day the official had told several local outlets that the Jalisco authorities were "working on the assumption" that one of the missing was Iván Archivaldo Guzmán, whose birthday is believed to be on August 15.
Both Jesús Alfredo and Iván featured in the article Hollywood actor Sean Penn published in Rolling Stone magazine earlier this year about his encounter with Chapo Guzmán. The meeting took place last October when the leader of the Sinaloa cartel was still on the run following his dramatic escape from jail in July 2015, and before his recapture in January.
With Chapo now appearing destined for extradition to the US, the cartel has descended into a leadership crisis. Iván Guzmán, is reportedly taking a particularly prominent role in the power struggles.
Known to have lived for several years in Guadalajara, the Jalisco state capital, Iván was arrested in the city in 2005 and served three years for money laundering before a judge overturned his conviction. A source within the Guadalajara police said he had long regarded Jalisco as his home turf and that, if his abduction is confirmed, "confrontations and killings" could follow.
The officer pointed to the bloody aftermath of the 2008 murder of another of Chapo's sons, Edgar. That killing triggered an all-out war between Chapo loyalists and the group controlled by his erstwhile allies from the Beltrán Leyva family. That old feud is now reportedly behind a new wave of violence in Sinaloa.
Meanwhile, the probable abduction of one, or possibly two, of Guzmán's sons in Puerto Vallarta has prompted an unusually intense search operation for the missing, and obvious nervousness on the part of the authorities.
"I want to assure you that up until today, up until this moment of today, there has yet to be any direct fallout from this event," Almaguer said in an interview on Radio Fórmula, earlier on Tuesday. "We should emphasize the great work done by the military and navy bases [in providing security]."
Almaguer appeared to say that the attackers in Puerto Vallarta were from the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, that is currently dominant in the state, though several other gangs are also known to operate in the area.
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