Culiacán, Mexico – The reputed chief of security for fugitive drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán died after a shootout with marines in the western state of Sinaloa, a source in the Mexican Attorney General's Office told Efe on Friday.
Jonathan Salas Avilez was wounded in Thursday's battle in Culiacán, the state capital, and died a few hours later at a hospital in the city, the source said.
An unidentified associate accompanying Salas Avilez at the time of the incident was pronounced dead at the scene.
Traveling in an armored SUV, the two men engaged in a running gunbattle with marines who pursued them on land and in a helicopter until the suspects' vehicle ran off the road, crashed and burst into flames.
Found inside the SUV were four AK-47 assault rifles, a handgun and dozens of ammunition clips.
Sinaloa is the birthplace of the first generation of Mexican drug kingpins, including "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzmán, whose estimated fortune of $1 billion qualifies him for a spot on Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest people.
Guzmán was captured in Guatemala in 1993 and extradited to Mexico, where he was convicted and sentenced to prison. But the drug lord escaped from a maximum-security prison in 2001 and remains at large.
Since the jailbreak, El Chapo has built his Sinaloa cartel into Mexico's most powerful criminal organization.