Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the head honcho of the Sinaloa Cartel, was finally arrested on Saturday February 22. The Mexican cartel is famous for trafficking drugs into the United States, Europe, Asia, and even Australia. Last year, Chicago declared Guzman as Public Enemy Number One. The United States had sought Guzman’s extradition in the past, and had offered $5 million bounty on the drug lord’s head.
Guzman was captured in a surprise raid on a hotel in a beach resort in Mazatlán, Mexico. The joint operation of the Mexican marines and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was the peaceful implementation—no shots were fired—of a plan that has been in the works for more than a month.
Months before Guzman’s capture, the Mexican authorities have been capturing and killing many of the cartel’s lieutenants. The operations gave the DEA and the Mexican authorities the information they needed to track down Guzman. The information leading to the capture comes from an investigation conducted by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which, together with Homeland Security, arrested people connected to the Sinaloa Cartel around five years ago in Arizona.
Mexico Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam stated that the authorities almost arrested Guzman earlier this month, but the cartel chief eluded capture by using a complex tunnel network that was linked to the city of Culiacan’s sewer system.
The seven residences believed to be Guzman’s hiding places were raided by the Mexican marines, but the entrances were reinforced with steel, enabling the drug boss to escape through the tunnels. The underground tunnel system is used by the cartel to smuggle drugs across the border.
The authorities were also careful about apprehending Guzman in public areas, fearing citizens might be caught in crossfire.
Guzman was previously arrested, but in 2001 was able to bribe his way out of his high-security prison, reportedly escaping in a laundry truck. Throughout the years, he was able to avoid capture by bribing corrupt officials.
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