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Mexican Navy captures drug lord “Chapo” Guzman after three hour gun battle

January 8, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Mexican Navy captures drug lord “Chapo” Guzman after three hour gun battle

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MEXICO CITY — Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, the world’s most-wanted drug lord, was recaptured in a daring raid by Mexican marines Friday, six months after he fled through a tunnel from a maximum-security prison in a made-for-Hollywood escape that deeply embarrassed the government and strained ties with the U.S.

The arrest took place after an intense gunbattle Friday morning in Los Mochis, a seaside city of about 250,000 people in Guzmán’s home state of Sinaloa.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced Guzmán’s capture on Twitter: “Mission accomplished: We have him.”

Few had thought Guzmán would be taken alive, and few now believe Mexico will want to try to hold him a third time in Mexican prisons. He escaped from maximum-security facilities in 2001 and last July. The recent breakout was especially humiliating for the Peña Nieto administration, which managed to hold Guzmán for less than 18 months.

Soon after Friday’s capture, calls went out for Guzmán’s immediate extradition to the U.S.

“Given that ‘El Chapo’ has already escaped from Mexican prison twice, this third opportunity to bring him to justice cannot be squandered,” said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican presidential candidate.

Peña Nieto said he personally issued the order to recapture Guzmán, and he heaped praise on Mexican agencies for their coordinated effort.

“Careful and intensive intelligence work was carried out for months” leading up to the arrest, he said.

Guzmán, a legendary figure in Mexico who went from a farmer’s son to the world’s top drug lord, was caught after a shootout between gunmen and Mexican marines in an upscale neighborhood in Los Mochis.

Authorities first found Guzmán several days ago, based on reports that he was in Los Mochis, said a Mexican law enforcement official who was not authorized to be quoted by name.

The Mexican navy said in a prepared statement that marines raided a home after receiving a tip about armed men there. They were fired on from inside the structure, it said. Five suspects were killed and six others arrested. No marines suffered serious injuries.

“You could hear intense gunfire and a helicopter; it was fierce,” said a neighbor, adding that the battle raged for three hours, starting at 4 a.m. She refused to be quoted by name in fear for her own safety.

At least one leader of Guzmán’s Sinaloa cartel managed to escape, authorities said, the first indication that the gunbattle involved high-ranking members of the cartel.

Guzmán may have been at the house and fled while his gunmen and bodyguards provided covering fire from the house, said a second federal law enforcement official, who also agreed to discuss the operation on condition of anonymity.

The drug lord was later captured at the hotel Doux, a low-rise modern building on the outskirts of town.

Some reports said he tried to escape through storm drains. In 2014, Guzmán evaded capture by fleeing through a network of tunnels in the drainage system under Culiacan, the Sinaloa state capital.

Mexican Attorney General Ariely Gomez said Guzmán was being taken back to Antiplano — the same maximum-security prison he escaped in July. Gomez spoke at a ceremony Friday night at Mexico City’s airport, where marines displayed Guzmán to journalists. Guzmán was put on a navy helicopter to be flown to the prison.

Marines seized two armored vehicles, eight rifles, one handgun and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher at the home in Los Mochis, the navy said.

Photos of the arms seized showed that two of the rifles were .50-caliber sniper guns, capable of penetrating most bulletproof vests and cars. The grenade launcher was found loaded, with an extra round nearby.

Peña Nieto, who has suffered a series of embarrassments and scandals in the first half of his presidency, gave a brief live message Friday that focused heavily on touting the competency of his administration.

“The arrest today is very important for the government of Mexico. It shows that the public can have confidence in its institutions,” he said. “Mexicans can count on a government determined to build a better country.”

U.S. authorities commended Mexico on Friday.

“The arrest is a significant achievement in our shared fight against transnational organized crime, violence and drug trafficking,” the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said in a prepared statement.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said: “I salute the Mexican law enforcement and military personnel who have worked tirelessly in recent months to bring Guzmán to justice.”

The Associated Press, The New York Times

Timeline

1993: Guzmán is captured for the first time in Guatemala. He’s sentenced to 20 years in prison.

2001: He escapes from a maximum-security prison, allegedly in a laundry cart, though some have discounted that version.

February 2014: Guzmán is tracked down to an oceanfront apartment complex in Mazatlán and captured with no resistance.

July 2015: Guzmán slips down a hole in his shower stall — in plain view of guards — into a mile-long tunnel dug from a property outside the prison. The tunnel has ventilation, lights and a motorbike on rails, illustrating the extent to which corruption was involved in covering up the elaborate operation.

Friday: Guzmán is recaptured in Los Mochis, Mexico.

 

 

 

 

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