Fugitive drug lord "El Chapo" recaptured, Mexican president says

Fugitive drug lord Joaquin Guzman, known by the nickname "El Chapo," has been recaptured six months after a brazen prison break, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said Friday.

"Mission accomplished. We have him," the president wrote on Twitter.

Nieto credited Mexican security agencies for the "important success."

Guzman, allegedly one of the world's most powerful drug lords, made his second escape from a high-security prison in July using a series of sophisticated tunnels.

The suspected head of the Sinaloa cartel was recaptured in the town of Los Mochis near the Pacific Coast in his home state of Sinaloa, the Milenio newspaper reported citing Mexican security authorities.

Mexican marines engaged in a morning shootout with Guzman's gang, killing five and arresting six. It was not clear if Guzman was captured at that time.

In the United States, federal authorities hailed the arrest.

On Twitter, the US Drug Enforcement Agency said it was "extremely pleased at the capture of Chapo Guzman," congratulated the Mexican government and saluted "the bravery involved in his capture."

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch called Guzman's apprehension "a victory for the citizens of both Mexico and the United States and a vindication of the rule of law in our countries."

Guzman was able to evade capture when the military closed in on him in October, firing from helicopters at a ranch in the so-called Golden Triangle between the states of Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua.

Initially arrested in 1993 in Guatemala and sentenced to 20 years in prison, Guzman served eight years before his first prison break, allegedly in a laundry cart, in 2001. After years on the run, he was re-captured in February 2014 in a hotel in the Sinaloan port city of Mazatlan.

Born into a poor family in the Sinaloan town of La Tuna de Badiraguato, Guzman ascended into the world of drug trafficking in the 1980s as an aide to drug lord Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo. He is believed to be between 58 and 60 years old.

Guzman's nickname of "Chapo," or short, references his height of 1.68 metres.

He faces extradition to the United States.

Last update: Sat, 09/01/2016 - 05:31

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