Mexican authorities have recaptured fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, six months after his prison break, President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Friday, triumphantly declaring “mission accomplished.”
Mexican marines have conducted extensive operations in the northwestern states of Sinaloa and Durango in search of Guzman since the 58-year-old drug lord’s July 11 escape.
According to The New York Times, “The arrest came after an intense gun battle Friday morning in the city of Los Mochis, a seaside area in Mr. Guzmán’s home state of Sinaloa.” The operation was conducted by “Mexico’s most-trusted military wing, the Marines,” which was also the force in charge of the drug lord’s arrest in early 2014.
El Chapo’s arrest makes for a major sigh of relief for the president, and the country. On July 11, after 17 months at the Altiplano maximum-security prison in central Mexico, Guzman slipped through a hole in his cell’s shower, climbed on a motorcycle mounted on rails, and traveled 1.5 kilometers (one mile) through a tunnel, then flew to his home turf at the Sinaloa-Durango state border, where he is revered as a modern-day Robin Hood.
It’s not clear is the government known of his whereabouts or it was simply a fortunate coincidence.