MEXICO CITY — After an early morning raid in northwestern Mexico’s Sinaloa State’s town of Los Mochis by Mexican police and marines on Friday, Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera was recaptured, six months after his second prison break.
The news was broken by President Enrique Pena Nieto, who posted on Twitter: “Mission accomplished. We got him. I want to inform all Mexicans that Joaquin Guzman Loera has been arrested.”
In a second message, he thanked security forces for this “important victory … for Mexico.”
On Friday afternoon, the president gave a press conference, during which he praised the excellent job of those who “had taken on organized crime” and ensured that Guzman “no longer represents a threat for Mexican society.”
“Finding, following and recapturing him was the result of prolonged efforts by our intelligence, security and justice services. This is a success for the state,” Pena Nieto said.
He thanked the federal police, the armed forces, and other institutions for fighting “day and night to complete the mission they had received, to recapture this criminal and bring him to justice.”
“To each and every one of them, I extend my personal and professional gratitude, as well as the gratitude of all Mexico,” the president said.
He detailed that this arrest was the result of several months’ intelligence work, which focused on identifying, detaining and dismantling those within Guzman’s sphere of influence.
The capture of Guzman has been welcomed by many parties, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), which has asked the Mexican government to extradite Guzman and had put up a 5-million-U.S.-dollar reward.
Guzman was transferred by plane to Mexico City on Friday. Authorities submitted Guzman to genetic and photographic tests to fully ascertain whether they have arrested the right man, reported Mexican daily El Universal.
The raid was planned after receiving a tip-off that armed men were present in a house of the town’s Scally neighborhood. In a raid on a house in Los Mochis at 6 a.m. local time, security forces exchanged shots with suspected accomplices of Guzman, leaving at least five dead and six captured, the Secretariat of the Navy announced Friday.
During the operation, around 100 soldiers and one helicopter were deployed around at least eight streets of the Scally neighborhood. Four vehicles were seized in the raid, including two armed cars, as well as a rocket launcher and several other weapons.
Along with Guzman, authorities have arrested other senior members of the Sinaloa Cartel, including Ivan Gastelum, also known as “El Cholo Ivan.”
This is the third time Guzman has been captured, after being arrested in 1993 and 2014 respectively. However, he has pulled off two daring escapes from maximum-security prisons.
In 2001, he was wheeled out by a janitor in a laundry cart. In 2015, his allies dug a tunnel about a mile long right into his jail cell at the Altiplano prison in central Mexico, sparking concerns that police and prison officials may have been involved. PNA/Xinhua / northboundasia.com