The Mexican drug lord known as “El Chapo” has been captured, Mexican officials said Friday.
“Mission accomplished: We have him,” Mexican President Pena Nieto said in Spanish on his Twitter account. “I want to inform all Mexicans that Joaquin Guzman Loera has been arrested.”
The Associated Press reported that Guzman, 57, was seized Friday after a shootout with Mexican marines in Los Mochis, in Guzman’s home state of Sinaloa. AP reported that five people were killed in the shootout, and one Marine was wounded. Marines seized two armored vehicles, eight rifles, one handgun and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, the news agency reported. AP quoted an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be quoted by name. ABC reported that American authorities confirmed the capture of Guzman, the reputed head of the Sinaloa Cartel, which smuggled billions of dollars worth of drugs into the United States and fought deadly battles with other Mexican gangs.
In October, the government said Guzman was injured when Mexican security forces almost caught up with him.
Guzman broke out of prison in July, escaping through a mile-long tunnel underneath his cell.
After his escape, there were criticisms that Mexico was unable to hold him safely, and that Guzman should have been held in the United States. That may now take place.
Mexico’s Attorney General’s office said in July it had approved an order to extradite him north of the border. Guzman is wanted in the U.S. for various criminal charges including cocaine smuggling and money laundering.
“If confirmed it’s obviously a great sign that in spite of concerns that Pena Nieto’s government would go easy on kingpins and organized crime, it hasn’t,” said Malcolm Beith, a journalist who wrote a book on Guzman. “Catching Chapo again now gives Mexico a great opportunity to either try him quickly and fairly and make sure that if found guilty he remains behind bars or extradite him and prove that US-Mexican relations are just as strong as ever.”
Guzman’s July escape was his second. In 2001, he broke out of a maximum-security prison by hiding in a laundry cart.
h/t: ABC News