Situated almost equidistant between Culiacán and the Gulf of California, the small Mexican city of Navolato is a sleepy place known mainly for agriculture, banda music and as a pass-through for vacationers heading to the towns along the coast.
But in late February the town became synonymous with Mexico’s violent drug war – and for what could be the first shots in a battle for control of the notorious Sinaloa Cartel – when a bloody shootout erupted in the middle of the city.
The skirmish pitted two factions of the Sinaloa Cartel — one led by the sons of imprisoned drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and the other by Dámaso “El Licenciado” López Núñez — against each other and have experts speculating about the future of what is purportedly Mexico’s most powerful, and seemingly indestructible, cartel in the wake of Guzmán’s arrest and extradition to the United States.
“This is one reason why you’re seeing such a drastic rise in homicides and violent crime all over Mexico, but especially in Sinaloa,” Adam Isacson, a senior associate at the Washington Office on Latin America, told Fox News. …