Saturday, February 22, 2014

México: President Peña Nieto Announces Arrest of Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzmán, 56, Public Enemy #1

According to The Latin American Tribune, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Saturday (February 22) confirmed the arrest of the world’s most notorious and powerful drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzmán, 56, saying he was captured by Marines during a joint security-force operation in the Pacific resort city of Mazatlán.

He said coordinated work involving the country’s Government Secretariat, the Navy Secretariat, the federal Attorney General’s Office, the Federal Police and the intelligence service was “decisive” in tracking down the elusive cartel leader.

A few hours later, Attorney General Jesús Murillo said in a message to the media that Guzmán was arrested at 0640 hours on Saturday “without a single shot being fired.”

COMMENT: Mexican authorities had the “full collaboration of US agencies,” the attorney general emphasized.

"Today's apprehension of Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman Loera by Mexican authorities is a landmark achievement, and a victory for the citizens of both México and the United States," said US Attorney General Eric Holder.

US authorities had been offering $5 million for information leading to Guzmán’s capture, while the Mexican government had offered to pay about half that amount.

Guzmán was a pioneer in transporting cocaine and marijuana from Colombia to the United States in Boeing jetliners, which later returned loaded with millions of dollars in small bills.

Felix-Gallardo’s arrest and prosecution in 1989 led the Guadalajara cartel being divided up and Guzman relocating to Culiacan and founding the Sinaloa cartel (after the like-named northwestern Mexican state) and consolidating himself as Mexico’s leading drug-trafficking figure.

On January 19, 2001, with just seven months remaining on his sentence, Guzmán escaped from the Puente Grande penitentiary in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, pulling off the Hollywood-style jailbreak by hiding in a cart full of dirty laundry in front of guards.

Guzman’s cartel rose to become one of the main sources of illicit drugs coming into the United States, and he became so notorious that the Chicago Crime Commission has labeled him “Public Enemy No. 1,” an epithet first bestowed on Al Capone.

Indeed, federal authorities in the Windy City said Saturday after Guzmán’s arrest was announced that they want to have him extradited to Chicago and tried there.

The Mexican kingpin’s drug wealth also has led to his name regularly appearing on FORBES’ list of global billionaires and his Sinaloa Cartel is designated a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker by the US Government.