View Full Version : Updates: World’s worst drug lord escapes Mexican prison through tunnel

The Bobster
07-12-2015, 07:11 AM

World’s worst drug lord escapes Mexican prison through tunnel
By Associated Press
July 12, 2015 | 4:55am

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman
Photo: AP

MEXICO CITY — Top drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman escaped through a 1 mile tunnel that opened into the shower area of his cell, Mexico’s top security official announced Sunday.

With the elaborate escape hatch built allegedly without the detection of authorities, Guzman has done what Mexican authorities promised would not happen after his re-capture last year — slipped out of a maximum security prison for the second time.

Eighteen employees from various part of the Altiplano prison 56 miles west of Mexico City have been taken in for questioning, Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said in a news conference Sunday.

A manhunt began immediately late Saturday for the head of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, which has an international reach and is believed to control most of the major crossing points for drugs at the U.S. border with Mexico.

Associated Press journalists near the Altiplano said the roads were being heavily patrolled by Federal Police, who had also set up checkpoints. Flights were also suspended at Toluca airport near the penitentiary in the state of Mexico.

Guzman was last seen about 9 p.m. Saturday in the shower area of the Altiplano prison, according to a statement from the National Security Commission issued early Sunday. After a time, he was lost by the prison’s security camera surveillance network. Upon checking his cell, authorities found it empty.

Guzman’s escape is an embarrassment to the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto, which has received plaudits for its aggressive approach to top drug lords. Since the government took office in late 2012, Mexican authorities have nabbed or killed six of them, including Guzman.

Guzman was caught by authorities for the first time in Guatemala in 1993, extradited and sentenced to 20 years in prison on drug-trafficking related charges. He escaped from Puente Grande, another Mexican maximum-security prison in western Jalisco state, in 2001 with the help of prison guards. The lore says he escaped in a laundry cart, although there have been several versions of how he got away.

He was re-captured in February 2014 after eluding authorities for days across his home state of Sinaloa, for which the cartel is named. He was listed as 56 years old last year, though there are discrepancies in his birth date.

Guzman faces multiple federal drug trafficking indictments in the U.S. as well as Mexico, and was on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s most-wanted list. The U.S. has said it would file an extradition request, though it’s not clear if that has already happened.

Former Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam told The AP earlier this year that sending Guzman to the United States would save Mexico a lot of money, but said Mexico would prosecute him at home as a matter of national sovereignty.

He dismissed concerns that Guzman could escape a second time. That risk “does not exist,” Murillo Karam said.

During his first stint as a fugitive, Guzman transformed himself from a middling Mexican capo into arguably the most powerful drug trafficker in the world. His fortune grew to be estimated at more than $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine, which listed him among the “World’s Most Powerful People” and ranked him above the presidents of France and Venezuela.

Guzman has long been known for his ability to pay off local residents and even authorities, who would tip him off to security operations launched for his capture. He finally was tracked down to a modest beachside high-rise in the Pacific Coast resort city of Mazatlan on Feb. 22, 2014, where he had been hiding with his wife and twin daughters. He was taken in the early morning without a shot fired.

But before they reached him, security forces went on a several-day chase through Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state. They found houses where Guzman supposedly had been staying with steel-enforced doors and elaborate tunnels that allowed him to escape through the sewer system.

Even with his 2014 capture, Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel empire continues to stretch throughout North America and reaches as far away as Europe and Australia. The cartel has been heavily involved in the bloody drug war that has torn through parts of Mexico for the last decade, taking at least an estimated 100,000 lives.

Altiplano, which is considered the main and most secure of Mexico’s federal prisons, also houses Zetas drug cartel leader Miguel Angel Trevino, and Edgar Valdes Villarreal, known as “La Barbie,” of the Beltran Leyva cartel.

The Bobster
07-15-2015, 03:15 PM

The American beauty queen married to El Chapo
By Danika Fears
July 15, 2015 | 1:43am

Emma Coronel Aispuro is married to El Chapo.
Photo: Getty Images

No wonder he was so desperate to bust out.

The young American-born wife of escaped drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is a former beauty queen who married the billionaire cartel boss as a teen.

Guzman, 60, met his small-town bride, Emma Coronel Aispuro, in 2006, when she was just 17.

The next year, Coronel was named the local Coffee and Guava Queen in the town of Canelas — but some have questioned if it was more than just sheer good looks that earned her the crown.

Hundreds of gunmen riding motorcycles swarmed into the town for a lavish party announcing her candidacy on June 6, 2007, The Daily Beast reported.

El Chapo himself showed up for the event — stepping out of a plane with an automatic weapon and his gun-toting entourage.

At the big bash, the couple announced their plans to marry on her 18th birthday — and Coronel ended up seizing the crown.

The now-25-year-old knockout, who was born in California and holds dual citizenship, fled to Lancaster, Calif., just outside Los Angeles, to give birth to twin girls at Antelope Valley Hospital on Aug. 15, 2011.

Because their mom is a US citizen and they were born in California, both girls have dual citizenship as well.

But her drug-lord hubby’s name is noticeably missing from LA County birth certificates for their two daughters — likely because the crime kingpin was wanted both in the United States and Mexico at the time.

Federal agents kept a close eye on Coronel as she traveled into California and back, even though no charges were ever brought against her, the Los Angeles Times reported.

But she does have family members with ties to her husband’s drug cartel — including an uncle who was Guzman’s former partner before being killed in a shootout with Mexican authorities in July 2010.

Coronel has kept quiet since Guzman escaped from the maximum-security Altiplano prison outside Mexico City on Saturday night.

The Bobster
12-10-2015, 03:04 PM

El Chapo tells ISIS his men will destroy them
By Laura Italiano
December 10, 2015 | 2:44pm

The world’s most wanted drug lord has declared war on the Islamic State, promising the terror group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, that his narcotics cartel will wipe them off the planet.

“My men will destroy you,”’ El Chapo huffs to the ISIS leader in an encrypted email that was leaked to a cartel-linked blogger in Mexico.

News of the threat, purportedly issued from wherever El Chapo is hiding since busting out of a Mexican prison in July, was first reported in the US by cartelblog.com.

El Chapo — real name Joaquin Guzman, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel — is not incensed at ISIS being a vile, bloodthirsty death cult. Instead, the renegade drug lord is angry that ISIS destroyed one of his drug shipments somewhere in the Middle East. :rolleyes:

“You [ISIS] are not soldiers,” El Chapo huffs in the leaked email, according to cartelblog.com.

“You are nothing but lowly p-ssies. Your god cannot save you from the true terror that my men will levy at you if you continue to impact my operation.”

The evil international overlord trash talk continues:

“My men will destroy you. The world is not yours to dictate. I pity the next son of a wh-re that tries to interfere with the business of the Sinaloa Cartel. I will have their heart and tongue torn from them.”

The Sinaloa Cartel has been trying to make inroads in the Middle East, which has a burgeoning party drug scene enjoyed by oil-rich royals and executives, the blog notes.

“As drugs are not a part of the organizational ideology for a Muslim state, ISIS fighters have been destroying shipments of drugs from the cartels,” the blog says.

The Bobster
01-09-2016, 07:01 AM

Drug lord El Chapo recaptured after deadly shootout
By Laura Italiano and Jamie Schram
January 8, 2016 | 1:35pm

Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman is escorted by the authorities to a Mexican Army helicopter. Photo: EPA

“El Chapo,” the world’s most-wanted drug lord, was recaptured Friday following a deadly shootout at a Mexican compound loaded with weapons — and US officials want to have him shipped straight to Brooklyn.

Billionaire cocaine kingpin Joaquin Guzman — whose nickname means “Shorty” — was brought down in his home state of Sinaloa during a predawn clash with Mexican marine special forces, officials said.

Five of Guzman’s bodyguards were killed and one marine was wounded in the bloody confrontation at his hideout in the coastal city of Los Mochis.

At least three US jurisdictions — led by Brooklyn — have indicted Guzman on murder, drug-smuggling and related charges. In Brooklyn, he was indicted in 2014 for allegedly laundering $14 million and ordering multiple killings, kidnappings and torture assaults.

The Department of Justice’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section also wants him, as do federal prosecutors in Florida.

“It will be a joint request from all three districts for El Chapo to be extradited to Brooklyn to face the charges in our indictment,” said Nellin McIntosh, a spokeswoman for the US attorney in Brooklyn.

“It is the practice of the United States to seek extradition whenever defendants subject to US charges are apprehended in another country,” said Department of Justice spokesman Peter Carr.

A photo released by Mexican authorities shows the handcuffed *fugitive in a filthy tank top uninjured except for a few small scrapes on his arms.

His compound was girded for battle, equipped with two armored vehicles, eight assault weapons and a rocket launcher, Mexican *officials said.

Guzman had been on the lam since fleeing a prison outside Mexico City on July 11 through a mile-long tunnel tricked out with electric lights, air ducts and a *motorbike that ran on train rails.

Law-enforcement agents were responding to a citizen’s tip about armed people seen at the house, and were fired on from inside as they raided the structure, Mexican naval officials said.

“Mision cumplida: lo tenemos,” Mexican President Enrique Pena Niento tweeted.

Translation: “Mission accomplished: we have him.”

A tweet from an account believed to belong to El Chapo’s son, Ivan, responds with an obscene suggestion involving the Mexican president and his mother.

The recapture caps a riveting and, for the Mexican government, embarrassing escape yarn.

Guzman popped down a hidden hatch in the shower of his cell and fled his so-called maximum-security prison through a tunnel estimated to have taken a year to construct.

He surfaced inside a walled site a mile south of the prison.

Since then, his whereabouts were the subject of folklore, red herrings and tantalizing taunts, including pictures on social-media posts purporting to show him flying in a private plane and knocking back a beer with family or friends.

The Bobster
01-09-2016, 02:49 PM

Mexico wants to send El Chapo to the US
By Associated Press
January 9, 2016 | 4:01pm

Drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted by soldiers during a presentation in Mexico City. Photo: Reuters

MEXICO CITY — Mexico is willing to extradite drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the United States, a federal law enforcement official said Saturday. It’s a sharp reversal from the official position after his last capture in 2014.

“Mexico is ready. There are plans to cooperate with the U.S.,” said the official, who spoke on condition anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to comment.

But he cautioned that there could be a lengthy wait before U.S. prosecutors can get their hands on Guzman, the most-wanted trafficker who was recaptured Friday after six months on the run: “You have to go through the judicial process, and the defense has its elements too.”

Top officials in the party of President Enrique Pena Nieto also floated the idea of extradition, which they had flatly ruled out before Guzman’s embarrassing escape from Mexico’s top maximum security prison on July 11.

“He has a lot of outstanding debts to pay in Mexico, but if it’s necessary, he can pay them in other places,” said Manlio Fabio Beltrones, president of Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party.

But even if Mexican officials agree, Guzman’s attorney Juan Pablo Badillo told the Milenio newspaper that the defense already has filed six motions to challenge extradition requests.

“They can challenge the judge, challenge the probable cause, challenge the procedure,” said Juan Masini, former U.S. Department of Justice attache at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico. “That’s why it can take a long time. They won’t challenge everything at once … they can drip, drip, milk it that way.”

Guzman, a legendary figure in Mexico who went from a farmer’s son to the world’s top drug lord, was apprehended after a shootout between gunmen and Mexican marines at the home in Los Mochis, a seaside city in Guzman’s home state of Sinaloa.

The operation resulted from six months of investigation by Mexican forces, who located Guzman in a rural part of Durango state in October but decided not to shoot because he was with two women and a child, said Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez.

After that he took a lower profile and limited his communication until he decided to move to Los Mochis in December.

Following his capture, the head of the powerful, international Sinaloa Cartel was brought to Mexico City’s airport, frog-marched to a helicopter before news media, and flown back to the same prison he’d fled.

There were immediately calls for his quick extradition, just as there were after the February 2014 capture of Guzman, who faces drug-trafficking charges in several U.S. states. At the time, Mexico’s government insisted it could handle the man who had already broken out of one maximum-security prison, saying he must pay his debt to Mexican society first.

Then Guzman escaped a second time on July 11 under the noses of guards and prison officials at Mexico’s most secure lock-up, slipping out an elaborate tunnel that showed the country’s depth of corruption while thoroughly embarrassing the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto.

In celebrating Guzman’s latest capture, Mexican officials showed none of their bravado of two years ago, though they made clear that the intelligence building and investigation were carried out entirely by Mexican forces. They did not mention extradition.

“They have to extradite him,” said Alejandro Hope, a security analyst in Mexico. “It’s almost a forced move.”

Gomez said that one of Guzman’s key tunnel builders led officials to the neighborhood in Los Mochis, where authorities had been watching for a month. The team noticed a lot of activity at the house Wednesday and the arrival of a car early Thursday morning. Authorities were able to determine that Guzman was inside the house, she said.

The marines were met with gunfire as they closed in. Five suspects were killed and six others arrested. One marine was injured.

“You could hear intense gunfire and a helicopter; it was fierce,” said a neighbor, adding that the battle raged for three hours, starting at 4 a.m. She refused to be quoted by name in fear for her own safety.

Gomez said Guzman and his security chief, “El Cholo” Ivan Gastelum, were able to flee via storm drains and escape through a manhole cover to the street, where they commandeered getaway cars. Marines climbed into the drains in pursuit. They closed in on the two men based on reports of stolen vehicles and they were arrested on the highway.

In 2014, Guzman evaded capture by fleeing through a network of interconnected tunnels in the drainage system under Culiacan, the Sinaloa state capital.

“The arrest of today is very important for the government of Mexico. It shows that the public can have confidence in its institutions,” Pena Nieto said in a public address. “Mexicans can count on a government decided and determined to build a better country.”

What happens now is more crucial for Guzman, whose cartel smuggles multi-ton shipments of cocaine and marijuana as well as manufacturing and transporting methamphetamines and heroin, mostly to the U.S.

The United States filed requests for Guzman’s extradition last June 25, just days before he escaped from prison. In September, a judge issued a second provisional arrest warrant on U.S. charges of organized crime, money laundering, drug trafficking and homicide, among others. But Guzman’s lawyers already had filed appeals and received injunctions that could delay the extradition process for months or even years.

“The arrest is a significant achievement in our shared fight against transnational organized crime, violence, and drug trafficking,” the Drug Enforcement Administration said in a statement.

After his first capture in Guatemala in June 1993, Guzman was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He reportedly made his 2001 escape from the maximum security prison in a laundry cart, though some have discounted that version.

His second escape last year was even more audacious. He fled down a hole in his shower stall in plain view of guards into a mile-long tunnel dug from a property outside the prison. The tunnel had ventilation, lights and a motorbike on rails. Construction noise as a digger broke through from the tunnel to his cell was obvious inside the prison, according a video of Guzman in his cell just before he escaped.

Mexican officials say dreams of Hollywood helped them track down and capture the world’s most notorious drug trafficker.

Apparently Guzman, while on the run, thought his story was worthy of a movie. Part of the reason authorities tracked him down was because he wanted to film a biopic, Gomez told the press at the airport ceremony where the prisoner was shown off to the press.

“For that he established communication with actresses and producers, which became a new line of investigation,” she said.