The Mexican President has been forced to deny rumours he is secretly meeting with the country's largest drug cartel to broker a peace deal.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also known by his initials AMLO, visited the municipality of Badiraguato in the Mexican state of Sinaloa over the weekend.
Sinaloa is the heartland of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel, headed by Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán until his arrest in 2016.
READ MORE: Kids armed with trumpets keep hostage and threaten rival school in mock cartel video
The massive drug trafficking organisation split into two following El Chapo's capture, with one faction taken controlled the drug lord's sons – primarily Jesus Alfredo, Ivan Archivaldo and Ovidio Guzmán. They are known as Los Chapitos.
Los Chapitos still dominate the state of Sinaloa – having bullied government forces into releasing Ovidio from custody there in 2019 – thus AMLO's recurring visits to the state have raised eyebrows and sparked speculation in the media.
The President has now visited the municipality of Badiraguato four times, with a fifth trip planned, according to BorderlandBeat.
Moreover, on Tuesday (November 1) he publicly declared his willingness to meet El Chapo's mother there, saying that he has great respect for elderly people.
At a press conference this week, an agitated AMLO challenged news outlets to prove his links to cartels. He even promised to resign if evidence came to light.
AMLO said: "There is also a campaign on the networks that I am going to Sinaloa, to Badiraguato, to meet with members of the Sinaloa Cartel.
"No, I am going to Sinaloa because it is a state of good people, hard-working people who should not be stigmatised. For those who do not have information, Sinaloa is the breadbasket of the country."
The rumours come after Manuel Espino, the former commissioner of the Federal Protection Service of the Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection, suggested the Mexican government should reach an agreement with the country's deadly drug cartels to quell rampant violence.
On October 27, Espino presented the federal government with a proposal arguing his case.
He even said he's already made contact with some criminals and had responses from two organised crime groups.
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