Graphic and disturbing, video newly uploaded to YouTube is purported to depict the assassination of Vicente Antonio Bermudez Zacarias, a 37-year-old Mexican federal judge charged with sending “El Chapo” Joaquin Guzman to prison and suspending his extradition to the United States, as reported by the National Post and Fox News Latino.
El Chapo Guzman is the reported leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel.
The El Chapo judge video appears to show Bermudez jogging beside a street in a residential neighborhood. The judge appears to be completely unaware when two men run up to him from behind.
In the video, one of the assailants can be seen approaching Judge Bermudez closely enough to hold a what appears to be a gun inches from the magistrate’s head and then opening fire.
The two assailants can then be seen running back in the direction from which they came, while Bermudez falls to the ground with blood streaming from his head.
“We have already been in contact with the competent authorities to immediately investigate this case and have it resolved,” Luis Maria Aguilar Morales, president of the Mexico Supreme Court, was quoted. “Federal judges are people who devote their lives, their personal integrity, moral and physical, to administering federal justice and are required to have the security and tranquility that their independence guarantees.”
Bermudez was reported to have been appointed as a federal judge in 2013. Previously, the Toluca magistrate was said to have presided over cases involving organized crime groups, including the Jalisco New Generation and Los Zetas cartels, as reported by the New York Daily News.
The identity of the assailants and a possible motive remain elusive.
El Chapo Guzman has been an active figure in drug trafficking and organized crime in Mexico since the 1980s. The drug lord has become notorious for multiple successful prison escapes and the ensuing manhunts conducted by authorities.
Guzman is reported to be wanted in six U.S. states and seven U.S. federal courts, as reported by Business Insider.
In January, USA Today wrote that El Chapo’s extradition to the United States could take “years.” More recently, the BBC stated an expectation that Guzman could face U.S. justice as early as February 2017.
One of the major obstacles in the extradition of El Chapo to the United States has been differing views between the North American neighbors on capital punishment. Mexico has no death penalty; officials with the nation, while espousing support for Guzman’s extradition, insisted on guarantees that the organized crime figure would be spared capital punishment if found guilty of the numerous crimes of which he has been accused.
As Judge Bermudez suspended El Chapo’s extradition earlier this year, whether Guzman or his associates are suspects in the slaying remains unclear.
Perhaps in anticipation of his seemingly eventually certain extradition, El Chapo Guzman was said to have been transferred to a prison close to the Texas border in May, near Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, as reported by the BBC.
At the time of the transfer to Ciudad Juarez, officials were quoted that the move was made as part of “normal rotation of prisoners for security reasons.”
El Chapo Guzman is thought to have grown up in La Tuna, Badiraguato, Sinaloa, Mexico, the son of a cattle rancher. His birth date is variously reported as Christmas Day, 1954 and April 4, 1957, which would make the man labeled as one of the “most powerful” in the world by Forbes, either 59- or 61-years-old.
In 2013, Forbes ranked El Chapo as the world’s 67th most powerful person; he has since dropped off the list. He has also been labeled among the richest people in the world at various points through his life.
[Featured Image by Rebecca Blackwell/AP Images]