Following a 13-year manhunt, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera has been captured. From The New York Times:
Few details were available on Saturday morning, but a picture of Mr. Guzmán, who appeaered to be handcuffed and with a few cuts to his face and torso, circulated among law enforcement officials. So hidden was he that there was uncertainty what he looked like, but American officials believe they have the right man. Mexican marines captured him in the Pacific beach resort area of Mazatlan. There were no reports of shots fired. In the past year, several of his top associates had been detained and crime analysts who follow the drug world had speculated his days were increasingly numbered.
Mr. Guzmán took on near-mythic status, landing on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people and talked about his legendary exploits. He picked up the tab for entire restaurants, or so the stories go, so diners would remain silent about his outings and, according to a leaked diplomatic cable, he surrounded himself with an entourage of 300 armed men for protection. Narcocorridos, folk ballads in tribute to drug lords, were sung in his honor.
Officials said Guzman was captured by Mexican marines and Drug Enforcement Administration authorities as part of an operation that had been underway for four or five weeks. Guzman was the head of one of the most powerful drug trafficking operations in the world, responsible for a bulk of the illegal drugs in the United States from Mexico. From Gawker:
In the late 1980s, Chapo was the first to hire an architect to build a super tunnel from Mexico to the United States, successfully smuggling cocaine underground to Los Angeles before airplanes could even land across the border. Since his original design, hundreds of tunnels have been attempted, and continue to get raided by border officials, in some cases yielding up to $12 million worth of drugs in marijuana and cocaine.
Law enforcement officials will attempt to extradite Guzman immediately to avoid the possibility of escape following a previous success in 2001.
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) February 22, 2014
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