Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has written in his Twitter account that fugitive drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been recaptured seven months after he escaped from a maximum security prison.
Responding to what was seen as one of the biggest embarrassments of his administration Guzman’s July 11 escape through a tunnel from Mexico’s highest-security prison Pena Nieto wrote in his Twitter account on Friday: “mission accomplished: we have him.”Benjamin Bergman, a spokesman for the Mexican marines, said El Chapo was rearrested after a shootout with Mexican marines in the city of Los Mochis, in Guzman’s home state of Sinaloa early Friday. He said Guzman was in “good condition.” More after the cut…..
Five people have been killed and one Mexican marine wounded in the clash. The Mexican Navy said in a statement that marines acting on a tip raided a home in the town of Los Mochis before dawn. They were fired on from inside the structure. Five suspects were killed and six others arrested. The marine’s injuries were not life threatening.
Misión cumplida: lo tenemos. Quiero informar a los mexicanos que Joaquín Guzmán Loera ha sido detenido.
— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) January 8, 2016
At the home marines seized two armored vehicles, eight long guns, one handgun and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.
Photographer Ismael Aguirre, who had been on the scene there since 3 a.m., said armed helicopters were flying over city, a middle class neighborhood, about 20 meters above the houses. This was because El Chapo’s men were trying to escape from their house to find refuge in other private houses. Kids were asked not to go to school as the fight continued for many hours, Aguirre said.
Helicopters were from the Mexican marines special forces. When El Chapo and his guards men heard the helicopters, they went into the city sewer pipes, Aguirre said. Marines were lifting the lids of sewer systems in the streets to find them
El Chapo ran for a while in the sewer system before getting out, where a car was waiting for him. He was taken to the Doux hotel where he checked in. Marines arrested him at the hotel, after the people fighting in the house confessed that his back-up plan was to end up at that hotel, Aguirre said. The details of his arrest Friday are just the latest twists and turns of the El Chapo saga.
In July 2015, in a scheme befitting a crime novel, Guzman escaped from a maximum security prison through a one-mile tunnel that opened into the shower area of his cell. The elaborate, ventilated escape hatch built allegedly without the detection of authorities allowed Guzman to do what Mexican officials promised would never happen after his re-capture last year slip out of one of the country’s most secure penitentiaries for the second time.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says it is “extremely pleased” by the recapture of “El Chapo”. On its Twitter account, the DEA congratulated Mexico’s government on nabbing Guzman, and said it salutes “the bravery involved in his capture.”
DEA is extremely pleased at the capture of Chapo Guzman. We congratulate the MX Government and salute the bravery involved in his capture
— DEA HQ (@DEAHQ) January 8, 2016
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch praised the arrest but had no mention of whether the U.S. will seek extradition of Guzman.
“Today’s capture of Joaquin ‘Chapo’ Guzman Loera by Mexican authorities is a blow to the international drug-trafficking syndicate he is alleged to have led, a victory for the citizens of both Mexico and the United States, and a vindication of the rule of law in our countries. Guzman’s latest attempt to escape has failed, and he will now have to answer for his alleged crimes, which have resulted in significant violence, suffering, and corruption on multiple continents. I commend the Government of Mexico for this arrest, and I salute the Mexican law enforcement and military personnel who have worked tirelessly in recent months to bring Guzman to justice. The U.S. Department of Justice is proud to maintain a close and effective relationship with our Mexican counterparts, and we look forward to continuing our work together to ensure the safety and security of all our people.”
Alongside el Chapo in the back of the police van is his chief hitman Orso Iván Gastélum Cruz, known as ‘El Cholo’ – a nickname commonly used to refer to young people in Mexican gangs. LIke El Chapo he too was on the run, having escaped from prison in 2009.His girlfriend, the winner of Miss Sinaloa 2012 was gunned down and killed by the army during a manhunt for him in 2012.
The Mexican Navy said in a statement that marines acting on a tip raided a motel in the town of Los Mochis around 4:30am. They were fired on from inside the structure.