Drug kingpin El Chapo Guzman, who escaped from a maximum security seven months ago, has been recaptured after a shootout with Mexican security forces. According to the Telegraph, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced on his Twitter account that El Chapo Guzman was captured alive and uninjured after an operation to take him back into custody. Peña Nieto’s announcement said, “mission accomplished. We got him. I want to inform Mexicans that Joaquin Guzman has been arrested.”
Misión cumplida: lo tenemos. Quiero informar a los mexicanos que Joaquín Guzmán Loera ha sido detenido.— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) January 8, 2016
According to ABC News, El Chapo Guzman, who was the force behind Chicago’s heroin and cocaine market for many years, was captured earlier today. Mexican officials were obviously determined to avoid El Chapo Guzman slipping through the net again as the operation to capture him was led by Mexican naval special forces, who stormed a private home where Guzman was hiding out in his home state of Sinaloa.
During the operation, five of Guzman’s henchmen were shot dead by security forces and a further five were arrested. A Mexican marine was injured in the assault.
According to the L.A. Times, Guzman’s escape from jail last July was the second time that he had escaped custody. On this occasion Guzman used an elaborate tunnel system to break his way out of Mexico’s top maximum-security prison. Guzman’s escape was a major embarrassment for President Peña Nieto and his government. El Chapo’s escape exposed deep levels of corruption and an inability to mete out justice on the part of the Mexican authorities.
According to Yahoo!, The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) took to its Twitter account to praise the Mexican authorities. The DEA played a key role in Guzman’s previous arrest in 2014 by providing intelligence, advice, and expertise leading to El Chapo’s conviction.
DEA is extremely pleased at the capture of Chapo Guzman. We congratulate the MX Government and salute the bravery involved in his capture— DEA News (@DEANEWS) January 8, 2016
It is unknown if the DEA had a hand in Guzman’s recapture, but the U.S. government were said to be furious at Mexico’s refusal to extradite Guzman to the U.S., when he was last in custody. Guzman has long been high on the U.S. “most wanted” list; he has been indicted in California and elsewhere because of his cartel’s expanding operations. It is expected that the U.S. government will again seek Guzman’s extradition to face charges.
Guzman is something of a legend in Mexico’s underworld. It is claimed that musicians sing El Chapo’s praise in folk ballads known as “narcocorridos.” Guzman’s daring underground escapes and ability to sneak narcotics under the U.S.-Mexico border also earned him the nickname “Lord of the Tunnels.”
The Mexican special forces say that they mounted the operation to capture Guzman after acting on a tip off. Mexican forces were fired upon as they approached the building, and after the successful operation they discovered an incredible stockpile of weapons that they believe were stockpiled for a “final stand.”
Guzman’s arsenal apparently included two armored vehicles, eight rifles, and a loaded rocket-propelled grenade launcher. There were .50-caliber sniper rifles capable of penetrating bullet-proof vests and cars. Guzman’s drug cartel operations are believed to have made him one of the world’s wealthiest men. At one point El Chapo even appeared on Forbes magazine’s list of the wealthiest people with an estimated fortune of $1 billion.
Guzman is believed to have married an 18-year-old beauty queen and at least 10 children by a variety of different women. In 2004 Guzman’s brother was killed in prison, and in 2008 one of his sons was shot to death in a shopping center parking lot.
[AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo]