Mexican authorities captured the world‘s most powerful drug lord in a resort city Saturday after a massive search through the home state of the legendary capo whose global organization is the leading supplier of cocaine to the United States.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, 56, looked pudgy, bowed and much like his wanted photos when he arrived in Mexico City from Mazatlan in Sinaloa state. He was marched by masked marines across the airport tarmac to a helicopter waiting to whisk him to jail.
Guzman was arrested by the Mexican marines at 6:40 a.m. in a high-rise condominium fronting the Pacific in Mazatlan. He was caught with an unidentified woman, said one U.S. official, who added that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Marshals Service were “heavily involved” in the capture.
A federal law enforcement official said intelligence from a Homeland Security Department investigation also helped lead U.S. and Mexican authorities to his whereabouts.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to journalists. No shots were fired.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the capture a “victory for the citizens of both Mexico and the United States.”
Mexican authorities, based on a series of arrests in recent months, got wind that Guzman was moving around Culiacan, capital of his home state for which the cartel is named.
Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam described an operation that took place between Feb. 13 and 17 focused on seven homes connected by tunnels and to the city’s sewer system.
During the four-day operation, authorities arrested 13 people, 97 rifles, 36 handguns, two grenade launchers, a rocket launcher, 43 vehicles, of which 19 were armored, 16 homes and four ranches. (AP)