El Chapo, The ‘Most Powerful Drug Trafficker In The World,’ Still On The Lam After False Lead

El Chapo Guzman continues to confound authorities both in Mexico and in the Argentina-Chile border area of Patagonia after his escape from a Mexican jail on July 11, 2015. Considered the “most powerful drug trafficker in the world” by the United States Department of the Treasury and ranked as one of the most powerful people in the world by Forbes magazine, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, 60, has an estimated net worth of $1 billion.

According to the Mexico Daily News, Argentine security officials have determined that El Chapo is neither in Argentina nor in Chile. A false lead has reportedly been exposed regarding the Sinaloa Cartel chief’s movements around the mountainous border region eight thousand kilometers south of Mexico. A trace to the call supplying the false lead was executed and the caller is in custody, with Argentine Intelligence and the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation vetting the information provided.

According to the Guardian, intense official work was conducted at Argentina’s mountainous southern border with Chile based on a tip that El Chapo tried to cross the Chilean-Argentine border. Following protocol, all security mechanisms were activated, putting federal forces in Patagonia on maximum alert.

After the lead was deemed false, Argentine Security Secretary Sergio Berni made the following statement on Monday, November 9.

“We tracked down the call, found who made it. After interrogating him, a judge found there was no truth to the caller’s information.”

Three days prior, the government of President Cristina Fernández revealed the same piece of intelligence inferring that the world’s most wanted drug trafficker was in the southern region of Patagonia. Positioning El Chapo there suggested the likelihood of his crossing the border into Chile.

El Chapo's hole in jail
El Chapo's escape route

Meanwhile, the International Business Times reports that Mexican authorities are continuing their hunt for Guzman, who goes by the gang name “El Chapo,” the Spanish equivalent of “Shorty,” alluding to his five-foot-six-inch height. The Mexican government confirmed that Guzman suffered injuries to the face and one leg in his haste to evade authorities, but not due to any clashes with them. The official story is that Mexico’s top drug lord sustained his injuries as he narrowly escaped security forces on his trail in the northwestern part of Mexico near his native Sinaloa state.

Mexican government sources believe that after his escape from prison in July, El Chapo was flown to a mountainous area of Sinaloa. A manhunt continues in his home state and in neighboring Durango.

Considered a major embarrassment for Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, the incident has led to arrest warrants for 23 former prison and police personnel for complicity in El Chapo’s escape from a maximum-security facility through a one-mile tunnel. Under the stepped-up investigation, 10 civilians are also currently under house arrest.

El Chapo's escape exit in construction site building [Photo by Yuri Cortez/Getty Images]

The jailbreak is El Chapo’s second successful escape from a maximum security prison. In 2001, he bribed prison guards to let him out of a federal maximum-security prison in Mexico, where he was serving a 20-year sentence for murder and drug trafficking after his arrest and extradition from Guatemala in 1993. On February 22, 2014, Mexican authorities captured him in his Mazatlan beachfront condominium apartment in Sinaloa without a gunshot being fired. His second penal stint lasted until July 11, 2015, when El Chapo escaped once more.

When he was arrested in 2014, El Chapo was sending more drugs into the U.S. than any other drug lord. As part of his growing empire, El Chapo branched out to shipping and transportation, earning him the title of “the godfather of the drug world” from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, which ranks his power above that of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. The Chicago Crime Commission named El Chapo “Public Enemy Number One” in 2013 for the influence of his criminal network in Chicago, a designation given to Al Capone in 1930.

[Photo by Susana Gonzalez/Getty Images]