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Rival Mexican Cartel Kidnaps 'El Chapo' Guzman's Son, Authorities Say


Well, he's back in the news - Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, the imprisoned Mexican drug lord. That's because one of his sons has been kidnapped. The 29-year-old and five other gang members were abducted early Monday morning from an upscale restaurant in the resort city of Puerto Vallarta. Here's NPR's Carrie Kahn.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: A video captured by security cameras at a Puerto Vallarta restaurant has no audio and the grainy picture is black and white, but it is still chilling. Men brandishing large, black firearms burst through the doors. They order five men to kneel on the ground and press the barrels of the weapons into the backs of the victims' necks. The video then abruptly ends.

ALEJANDRO HOPE: It's very bold...

KAHN: And a brazen move, says security analyst and former Mexican intelligence officer Alejandro Hope. He says when rival gangs attack each other, there are usually gun battles. Kidnapping the kid of cartel capos is something new. Hope says, quote, "outright warfare between the two groups is inevitable."

HOPE: This could become a very, very nasty war.

KAHN: The war is between Chapo Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel and an organized crime gang somewhat new to the Mexican drug scene. Named after its home state in western Mexico, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel doesn't fool around. Like in May of 2015, the cartel simultaneously burned gas stations and banks, blockaded major highways and then shot an army helicopter out of the sky with a rocket, killing the soldiers on board.

David Shirk is a political science professor at the University of San Diego. He says the Jalisco cartel's power and reach coincides with the capture of the leaders of rival gangs, most notably the arrest of kingpin Chapo Guzman.

DAVID SHIRK: We're seeing a reconfiguring of cartel-held territories and alliances in the aftermath of Chapo Guzman's fall.

KAHN: Guzman is taking quite a fall. Not only is he facing what looks like inevitable extradition to the U.S, rival gang members attacked his mother's home earlier this summer. And another group killed two nephews of his wife last month. Carrie Kahn, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Carrie Kahn is NPR's International Correspondent based in Mexico City, Mexico. She covers Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Kahn's reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning news programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and on