Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mexican Drug Capo Joaquin Guzman Captured (Updated)

Update (5:05 PM): Arrested Sinaloa drug gang head Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was paraded in front of the press at a news conference in Mexico City:

Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam told reporters that Guzman was captured at early on Saturday morning in"an impeccable operation" carried out by the Mexican navy with "no shots fired."

In addition:
Murillo Karam recognised the collaboration of the US government in tracking Guzmán to a network of safe houses with reinforced metal doors and escape tunnels that made use of the city drainage system and allowed the criminal to escape from an initial operation.

"There were several moments when we could have detained him after that," Murillo Karam said. "We waited until the best moment," he added, claiming this ensured there were no unnecessary civilian casualties.
Update (3:45 PM): Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto confirmed the capture of Sinaloa drug gang head Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman:

Peña Nieto also mentioned via his Twitter account that his administration will "work to guarantee the security and State of Law" in Mexico.

Guzman was reportedly captured at a Mazatlan hotel during an operation led by the Mexican marines and with the help of counternarcotics officials from the U.S. and Mexico.

Since escaping from prison in 2001, Guzman led the Sinaloa Cartel to become one of Mexico's most powerful and violent drug gangs.  His personal fortune is estimated to be at more than $1 billion and he was named among the "world’s most powerful people" by Forbes magazine.

Guzman has been named in multiple federal drug trafficking indictments in the U. S. and has been on the most-wanted list of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  Thus, "El Chapo" could be extradited from Mexico to the U.S. and stand trial.

"It is a significant arrest provided he gets extradited immediately to the United States," said ex-DEA agent Phil Jordan to CNN.  ""If he does not get extradited, then he will be allowed to escape within a period of time." 

Over the last few months several senior members of the Sinaloa drug gang have been either captured or killed.  Yet it remains to be seen what effect this has in a country where 25,000 people have died in drug-related violence over the last few years.

"For Mexico in general it's also a boost, long-term — the less kingpins around, the harder it is for drug trafficking organizations/cartels to operate," Malcolm Beith, a journalist and author of a book on Guzmán, said to USA TODAY. "Short-term, however, it's quite likely violence will plague Sinaloa, as lower-level narcos battle it out for Chapo's turf."

Update (2:20 PM): The Mexican government is expected to hold a press conference later today at the Marines hangar of Mexico City's international airport.

Update (1:15 PM): Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said that Mexico's Foreign and Security Ministries "confirmed" to his government of the "successful" capture of Guzman.

Perez also claimed that he is awaiting additional information since "El Chapo" is still in the area where he was said to be apprehended.

Thus far, Mexican authorities have yet to officially confirm the apparent arrest of Guzman.

Update (1:03 PM): Mexican news source Milenio published a photo alleged to be of Guzman after he was reportedly apprehended on Friday evening.  (This image can be seen in the following video).
"We had been actively monitoring his activity over the past five weeks," said another unnamed U.S. antidrug official to the AFP.

"A small group of people were with (Guzman)" when he was caught, added the anonymous source. 

Original Post: Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the head of Mexico's Sinaloa drug gang and one of the world's most wanted criminals, has reportedly been captured.

An Associated Press (AP) report cited an anonymous "senior U.S. law enforcement official" who claimed that Guzman was apprehended late last night in Mazatlan.  He was said to be caught at a hotel in an operation involving U.S. and Mexican officials. 

Furthermore, the website of Mexican newspaper El Universal claimed that Mexican law authorities captured a person in Sinaloa and are trying to confirm his identity.

The 56-year-old faces multiple federal drug trafficking indictments in the U.S. and is on the Drug Enforcement Administration's most-wanted list. He has been on the lam since he slipped out of prison in 2001 and, since then, has been on the run while leading the increasingly powerful and violent Sinaloa drug cartel.
Online Sources including Updates - NBC News; El Universal; Milenio; La Cronica de Hoy; CNN; USA TODAY; Twitter account of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto; The Guardian

Video Source - YouTube users juan jose hernandez and ExcelsiorTV

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