Drug lord captured in home state

By: Regina Wright ~Staff Writer~

Photo courtesy of pbs.org | Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is taken to a helicopter by Mexican security forces after his first escape in February 2014.

After six months on the run, the world’s most wanted man, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, was captured in his home state of Sinaloa, Mexico. Guzmán is the kingpin and creator of Mexico’s most powerful and violent drug cartel, the Sinaloa Cartel.

The cartel originated in 1980 and became a multibillion-dollar empire that supplied marijuana, cocaine and heroin throughout Mexico and the U.S. and later expanded to Europe and Asia. Rivalry with other drug cartels created an ongoing drug war in Mexico, leaving thousands dead. U.S. indictments claim the organization is responsible for using assassins and hit squads to show off its power. Guzmán himself has had a direct hand in the murder of hundreds.

Guzmán was extradited from Guatemala in 1993 and sent to Puente Grande, a maximum-security prison in Mexico. Eight years after his first capture, he escaped in a laundry cart. He was recaptured in 2014. In July 2015 Guzmán escaped for the second time. He escaped from Altiplano Federal Prison by crawling through a hole in his cellblock’s shower area into a tunnel, which led to a house. Guzmán then traveled to San Juan del Rio where two small planes were waiting for his arrival.

Guzmán was captured for the third time on Jan. 8, nearly six months after his second escape. During a pre-dawn operation Mexican authorities moved in and raided his beachside condo tower where he was asleep next to his wife. The day after Guzmán’s arrest, Rolling Stone magazine published an interview with Guzmán by Sean Penn.

The article has been followed by debate since Penn met with Guzmán while he was on the run. It was three months after the fugitives’ escape that Guzmán met with Penn and conducted a seven hour-long interview. Kate del Castillo, a Mexican actress who supported Guzmán, planned the interview. Penn also conducted a follow-up interview through text messaging and video.

Currently, Guzmán is back in the same prison from which he escaped six months prior and faces the possibility of being extradited to the U.S. under drug trafficking charges. The process could take several months, and Guzmán would have the right to appeal.