A Mexican prosecutor has confirmed the kidnapping of the son of jailed drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman from an upscale restaurant in the resort town of Puerto Vallarta.
Prosecutor Eduardo Almaguer said 29-year-old Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar and five others were abducted from a dinner party by seven gunmen early Monday. He told the Mexican radio network Radio Formula the victims "were not tourists or residents who work in legal activities."
Numerous media accounts identify the kidnappers as members of the Sinaloa drug cartel, the same organization the senior Guzman had ruled since taking control of the organization in the 1990s.
The prosecutor said the gunmen entered the restaurant about 1 a.m. Monday and took their prisoners without firing a shot. He also said no one had yet filed a formal complaint about the abductions.
Other reports say a half-dozen luxury vehicles remained at the crime scene.
Analysts say the abductions are the clearest evidence yet that a power struggle is under way for control of the vast cartel, considered one of the largest criminal enterprises in the Western Hemisphere.
The elder Guzman was first arrested in 1993, before escaping in 2001 from a prison in Guadalajara with the help of prison guards. He was apprehended 13 years later with information provided by U.S. intelligence agencies.
El Chapo escaped again in July 2015, in what was widely seen as a major embarrassment to the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto. Guzman gained his freedom by crawling through a hole in his jail cell's shower, and then through a 1.5-kilometer tunnel.
He was captured six months later in a military operation in his home state of Sinaloa. He currently faces extradition to the United States.
However, a Mexican judge in late June temporarily postponed the extradition, until arguments can be heard on two appeals filed by his attorneys.