Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is believed to be hiding in the mountainous region of his hometown of Sinaloa. A trail of evidence suggests the drug lord was flown straight to the hideout after his escape from maximum security prison through a mile-long tunnel dug underneath the prison complex.
Elusive Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who managed to escaped from a high security prison for the second time, may be hiding in Sinaloa. He is also believed to have sustained injuries to his leg and face after he made a hasty retreat when officials came quite close to his temporary hideout.
Mexican authorities strongly believe El Chapo is in Sinaloa primarily because they have, in custody, a pilot who allegedly flew the drug lord there. Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez had confirmed that the authorities had succeeded in nabbing the pilot who assisted Joaquin Guzman after his escape from the prison, reported Fox News. Officials claim it was the captured pilot who flew a small plane into the mountains of northwestern Mexico. The terrain is extremely difficult to navigate by road and offers no facilities to land a plane; however, the authorities maintain that the pilot might have flown a very small plane that can hold only a few passengers.
The rugged area that stretches from Sinaloa into the neighboring Durango state, is part of Mexico’s infamous drug-producing region and is referred to as the “Golden Triangle.” El Chapo is suspected to have taken refuge here and it is considered to be his stronghold. It is believed the region is heavily fortified by guards who are armed with powerful automatic weapons and short range grenade launchers as well. The region is also patrolled regularly by those involved in the drug trade. Despite launching multiple offensives over the years, Mexican authorities haven’t succeeded in breaking up the cartels that have made the region their drug producing headquarters.
Incidentally, Mexico’s government claims it had come quite close to recapturing El Chapo in the mountains, but he successfully evaded capture. Mexico’s Security Cabinet issued a statement that indicated El Chapo was injured as he tried to escape Mexican marines in the rough terrain. However, the Security Cabinet maintains that Joaquin Guzman was injured on his own accord and his injuries weren’t inflicted by those trying to capture him,
“Information-sharing with international agencies had led authorities to zero in on Guzman in northwestern Mexico. As a result of these actions, and to avoid his capture, in recent days, the fugitive engaged in a hasty retreat, which, according to the information received, caused him injuries to one leg and the face. It’s important to clarify that these injuries were not a product of a direct clash.”
Though the current investigations prevent officials from openly discussing the operations or their results, a report from NBC News, relying on local intelligence sources, suggests the marines were able to pinpoint El Chapo’s hideout after U.S. drug agents intercepted cell phone signals suggesting he was hiding at a ranch near Cosala in the Sierra Madre Mountains.
Trying to raid the hideout from air proved futile due to heavy gunfire from the huge undergrowth below. The marines then tried to raid the ranch on foot, but Joaquin Guzman and a few of his most trusted accomplices had already escaped on All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV). The report adds that the marines recovered a lot of communications gear including cellphones and two-way radios. They also found a lot of medical aide at the site, suggesting El Chapo might be suffering from some physical ailment and taking medication for the same.
The recapture of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is proving to be quite difficult and embarrassing for Mexico. It has also laid bare the huge lapses in the country’s prison security system, reported USA Today.
[Image Credit | Yuri Cortez / Getty Images]