Mexican security forces were on Thursday forced to free Ovidio Guzman, one of drug lord Joaquin Guzman alias El Chapo’s sons after briefly capturing him. The detention led to intense gun battles across the Mexican city of Culiacan, BBC reported.

Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said a team of the National Guard militarised police were first fired at by people within a house in the city. On entering, they found four people, including Ovidio Guzman. But suspected members of the Sinaloa cartel soon overpowered them, after which the forces had to retreat to save lives.

“The decision was taken to retreat from the house, without Guzman, to try to avoid more violence in the area and preserve the lives of our personnel and recover calm in the city,” Durazo said. Gangsters had set up roadblocks and unleashed fire across the city during the brief detention. Footage on television channels showed armed men firing at the police while burning objects, vehicles and bodies were strewn around.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who came to power promising to crack down on the drug cartels, is expected meet his security cabinet to discuss the situation.

Ovidio Guzman is reportedly party in-charge of the Sinaloa cartel, which was headed by Joaquin Guzman for decades. He is wanted for drug trafficking in the United States. In July, Joaquin Guzman was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years for several charges including drug trafficking, money laundering and illegal use of firearms.

The influential Sinaloa drug cartel is believed to be responsible for almost 25% of all illegal drugs that enter the United States from Mexico. US courts first indicted Joaquin Guzman in the 1990s. He began his career in opium and cannabis farming and expanded to include what is believed to be the largest transnational cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine smuggling operation. The drug smuggler managed to escape twice from Mexican prisons during his incarceration and reportedly controlled operations from his cell.

Here are some visuals of the city from social media: