Gunfight Rages in Capital of Mexico's Sinaloa State 

An extended gunbattle with high-caliber weapons raged Thursday in the streets of the capital of Mexico's Sinaloa state. 
Heavily armed civilians in trucks were firing in downtown Culiacan, with some shooting what appeared to be .50-caliber sniper rifles and truck-mounted machine guns, according to Culiacan-based news outlet Riodoce. 
Riodoce reported there was a heavy deployment of Mexican security forces and that gunmen had blocked entrances to the city with burning vehicles, a common tactic to make it difficult for security forces to maneuver. 

Sinaloa public safety director Cristobal Castaneda told Milenio television the army started an operation Thursday afternoon and soon afterward government surveillance cameras alerted authorities that gunmen in vehicles were circulating in downtown Culiacan. 

Simultaneously, 20 to 30 prisoners escaped, though some were quickly recaptured, he said. 

Castaneda did not state what the military's objective was with the operation.  

State officials asked residents to avoid going out in parts of city. 

Sinaloa's soccer club Dorados announced that it had canceled its game Thursday because of security concerns. 

Sinaloa cartel

Sinaloa is home to the cartel by the same name, which was led by Joaquin “El Chapo'' Guzman. Guzman was sentenced to life in prison in the United States in July. 

After Guzman's third arrest in 2016, an internal battle for succession began playing out. The battle was resolved with the arrest of Damaso Lopez Nunez and his son Damaso Lopez Serrano, who led a rival faction. 

The cartel is currently led by Ismael “El Mayo'' Zambada and Guzman's sons, Ivan Archivaldo and Jesus Alfredo, known as “los Chapitos,'' or “the little Chapos.'' 

by via Voice of America - English