Posted by Amechi Obiakpu, Lagos | 9 January 2016 | 2,925 times
Mexico drug lord and head of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has been recaptured by the country’s security force, with support from the United States.
A Reuters report stated that, the notorious drug lord was captured on Friday after a pre-dawn shootout that left five people dead in his native northwestern state of Sinaloa.
The arrest is the third after the world’s top drug lord, escaped from prison facilities in mysterious circumstances.
"Mission accomplished: We have him," President Enrique Pena Nieto said on his Twitter account. "I want to inform all Mexicans that Joaquin Guzman Loera has been arrested."
For Pena Nieto, the capture of a trafficker who twice slipped out of Mexican prisons is a sorely-needed victory after his presidency was tarnished by graft and human rights scandals and the shame of the kingpin's flight in July.
It also provides a major boost for U.S.-Mexico relations, strained by the apparent ease with which Guzman gave Mexican authorities the slip after the United States requested his extradition.
Guzman now faces the prospect of being tried in the United States. But the process could take months, although U.S. Republican party presidential hopeful Marco Rubio called for the U.S. administration to immediately pursue extradition.
Once featured in the Forbes list of billionaires, Guzman has led a cartel that smuggled billions of dollars worth of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines into the United States and fought vicious turf wars with other Mexican gangs.
Guzman, whose nickname means "Shorty", first escaped prison in 2001 by bribing prison officials, and went on to dominate drug trafficking along much of the Rio Grande.
He was recaptured by Pena Nieto's government 13 years later but again fled, this time through a mile-long tunnel which burrowed right up into the shower in his cell, capitalizing on the drug-tunneling skills his cartel honed on the U.S. border.
The escape heaped embarrassment on Pena Nieto, who had resisted a U.S. request to extradite Guzman and had said previously that an escape would be "unforgivable."
Dozens of people were arrested over the jailbreak, though details of who Guzman bribed and how his accomplices knew exactly where to dig into the prison remain scarce.
*Photo shows Guzman being excorted by security forces.
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