Sinaloa violence forces postponement of two matches in Mexico

Thursday's second division Mexico league match between Dorados and Correcaminos and Friday's Liga MX match between Mazatlan and Leon have been postponed due to violence in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, both leagues announced on Thursday.

Organized crime paralyzed the western Mexico city of Culiacan, a stronghold of the Sinaloa drug cartel, as alleged cartel members carjacked residents and set vehicles ablaze on Thursday in apparent response to the arrest of cartel leader Ovidio Guzman, son of the imprisoned Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

Local and state authorities warned everyone to stay inside and said their federal counterparts would announce the results of the pre-dawn military operation.

Such outbursts of violence often come in response to arrests of important cartel figures as their allies attempt to create chaos.

Drug trafficking, along with immigration, is expected to be a top talking point as U.S. President Joe Biden travels to Mexico on Monday and Tuesday to meet with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the 2023 North American Leaders' Summit.

Dorados vs. Correcaminos and Mazatlan vs. Leon were scheduled to take place in the first weekend of the 2023 Clausura for Liga MX and Liga de Expansion.

Thursday's postponement marks the second time since last summer that a Liga MX match has been rescheduled due to cartel violence.

Following a gang riot in August of 2022 that made its way onto the streets of the Mexican city of Juarez, FC Juarez vs. Pachuca was postponed.

Mexican baseball's winter league playoffs were also affected by the violence. Game 4 of the quarterfinal series between the Naranjeros de Hermosillo and the Venados de Mazatlan was scheduled to take place on Friday in Mazatlan, just 135 miles south of Culiacan. Liga ARCO announced the game would be postponed for a later date.

"Due to the occurrences in the state of Sinaloa, as recommended by authorities, the fourth game between Hermosillo and Mazatlan has been officially suspended," an official statement read.

Among other notables, Mazatlan features former San Diego Padres third baseman Christian Villanueva, while former Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees infielder Luis Cruz plays for Hermosillo.

Four of the eight teams still in competition -- Guasave, Los Mochis, Navojoa and Mazatlan -- hail from Sinaloa. As of now, Navojoa remains scheduled to host Game 4 of its series against Los Mochis on Thursday night. The city is 225 miles north of Culiacan.

Liga ARCO's titleholder is scheduled to represent the country in the Caribbean Series, which currently pits the winter ball champions of Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela against each other every February.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN's Eric Gomez was used in this story.