Mexico’s most notorious drug lord ‘El Chapo’ recaptured
Security forces in Mexico have recaptured notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman after a fierce gun battle, six months after his second escape from a maximum security prison in the country.
“Mission accomplished: We have him,” Mexico’s President Pena Nieto announced on Friday in a Twitter message, claiming personal credit for the arrest.
“I want to inform all Mexicans that Joaquin Guzman Loera has been arrested,” he said.
Guzman’s capture came after an armed clash between members of Mexico’s elite Marine force and the armed guards of the drug lord at a roadside motel in the city of Los Mochis in Guzman’s home state of Sinaloa.
The Marines, considered the country’s most-trusted military force, had launched an early morning raid on the perimeter.
The arrest ended one of the most extensive manhunts carried out by the Mexican government, involving every law enforcement agency in the Latin American nation with widely-reported assistance from the neighboring US.
The recapture of the drug lord, who has twice slipped out of Mexican prisons, is regarded as a major victory for Pena Nieto.
Nieto’s presidency has been marked by graft and human rights scandals as well as embarrassment over the second escape of the drug kingpin in July 2015.
Guzman shocked the world last summer when he stepped into the shower at his cell, in the most secure wing of the prison he was being kept in, in full view of a video camera and vanished into what guards later discovered was a small hole in the shower’s floor.
Guzman’s illicit narcotics activities across Mexico include smuggling tons of drugs into the US through vast networks of tunnels deep beneath the border.
His narcotic success has ranked him among the richest drug dealers in history; Forbes magazine has estimated his net worth at nearly $1 billion.
Guzman is also sought by American authorities for various criminal charges, including cocaine smuggling and money laundering. However, US judicial authorities say his potential extradition to the US would “take time.”
Guzman’s lawyer in October appealed against possible extradition in case his client was captured.