Mexico captures fugitive drug lord ‘El Chapo’ Guzman – president

Joaquin Guzman © Edgard Garrido
The notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been arrested after his scandalous prison break last year, the Mexican president announced, praising the success of a months-long criminal and intelligence investigation.

Guzman was arrested on Friday in the town of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto announced in a news conference. He said the capture of the 58-year-old infamous drug lord should restore faith in the government and security forces.

“Today Mexico confirms that their institutions have the capacity to overcome the threats. Mexico has the ability to deal with situations like these,” he said, adding that the arrest is “important” for state institutions as it shows that people “can rely on them.”

Earlier on Friday the president took to Twitter to break the news.

“Mission completed: we've got him. I’d like to inform the Mexicans that Joaquin Guzman Loera has been detained,” Enrique Pena Nieto wrote. Niento also expressed his appreciation to the Secretariat of Public Security for the capture. 

Five people were killed and one marine was wounded in a shootout which occurred during an operation to capture the kingpin in the city of Los Mochis, in his home state of Sinaloa, an official told AP on condition of anonymity.

Benjamin Bergman, a spokesman for the Mexican marines said that Guzman was in "good condition."

Mexican marines raided El Chapo’s home, acting on a tipoff, before dawn, the navy said in a statement adding that five suspects had been killed and six arrested. Two armored vehicles, eight long guns, one handgun and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher were seized in the operation.

Among the seized arms were .50-caliber sniper guns capable of penetrating most bullet-proof vests and cars, AP reported. The assault rifle had a .40 mm grenade launcher, and at least one grenade, and another grenade launcher was found loaded, with an extra round nearby.

This ends the impunity that seemed to exist when the second escape of this criminal took place…” said the president of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, as quoted by local media.

El Chapo (aka “Shorty”) is considered to be Mexico’s top drug lord and head of the Sinaloa cartel. The US Drug Enforcement Administration has called El Chapo the biggest drug lord of all time. In 2011 he reportedly surpassed the infamous “cocaine king” Pablo Escobar. He was wanted by Mexico, Interpol and the US, which had offered a $5 million reward for any information leading to his capture.

Washington has called the capture of Guzman a victory and triumph for the rule of law.

El Chapo's arrest is "a victory for the citizens of both Mexico and the United States, and a vindication of the rule of law in our countries," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said.

Guzman also faces charges in the US. She said he "will now have to answer for his alleged crimes," but stopped short of asking Mexico for the drug lord to be extradited.

READ MORE: RT team relives infamous El Chapo drug lord’s tunnel escape from prison (VIDEO)

He was first arrested in 1993 and spent almost a decade in a maximum-security prison near Mexico City before escaping in 2001. After 13 years on the run he was recaptured in 2014.

However, last July a new prison break made the headlines again. He escaped through a 1.5-kilometer long, 10-meter deep tunnel dug from within his cell, despite being incarcerated in the country’s highest-security federal prison.

The tunnel from the facility led to a half-constructed empty house in nearby fields. Chapo reportedly paid as much as $50 million in bribes to facilitate his escape.

His latest jail break sparked one of the largest manhunts in the country’s history and spurred major criticism about the government’s ability to safeguard the drug lord.