Friday, August 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Drug lord of the Sinaloa cartel is arrested by U.S. and Mexico

MEXICO CITY - 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, much like his wanted photos when he arrived in Mexico City from Mazatlan. He was marched by masked marines to a helicopter waiting to whisk him to jail.

Guzman was arrested by the Mexican marines in a high-rise condominium fronting the Pacific. He was caught with an unidentified woman, said one official not authorized to be quoted by name, 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. No shots were fired.

Mexican officials, after a series of arrests in recent months, got wind that Guzman was in Culiacan, capital of his home state for which the cartel is named.

Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam described an operation between Feb. 13 and 17 that focused on seven homes connected by tunnels and to the city's sewer system.

Guzman faces multiple federal drug-trafficking indictments in the U.S. and is on the DEA's most-wanted list. His empire reaches as far as Europe and Australia. His cartel has been heavily involved in the bloody drug war that has torn apart Mexico for the last several years.

"He got tired of living up in the mountains and not being able to enjoy the comforts of his wealth," said Michael S. Vigil, a former senior DEA official, who was briefed on the operation. "He became complacent and started coming into the city of Culiacan and Mazatlan. That was a fatal error."

Alicia A. Caldwell, Elliot Spagat, and Mark Stevenson Associated Press
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