officials, was busted in Mazatlan. Guzman is charged in a federal
indictment in Brooklyn, along with five co-defendants, with running
the massive Sinaloa Cartel — which one official said has brought more
cocaine, heroin and meth into the U.S. than any other organization.
New York Daily News
he’ll face justice in New York City.
Mexican marines working with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the
Marshals Service captured Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ (Shorty) Guzman inside a
condominium in the beach resort town of Mazatlan on Saturday morning,
The 56-year-old billionaire head of the Sinaloa Cartel — labeled “the
godfather of the drug world” by the DEA — will be tried in Brooklyn
Federal Court, a law enforcement official told the Daily News.
“Chapo is the face of the Sinaloa Cartel and is recognized as the
biggest drug trafficker in the world,” the official said. “By far, the
Sinaloa Cartel is responsible for bringing more cocaine, heroin and
meth into this country than any other organization.
“Hundreds of murders, if not thousands of murders, are attributed to
him, if not by his own hand, under his direction,” added the official,
who requested anonymity.
Guzman’s arrest represents a huge victory in Mexico’s bloody drug war
that has killed at least 70,000 people, including children, since
2006. No shots were fired when authorities came upon Guzman in bed
with an unidentified woman at 6:40 a.m., authorities said.
Following his arrest, masked marines held Guzman by the neck as they
escorted him to a helicopter at Mexico City’s airport. He sported a
white shirt, dark jeans with no belt and a thick mustache as he headed
to a Mexican prison.
The law enforcement official said federal prosecutors hope to bring
him before a judge in Brooklyn in about a year. Guzman is charged in a
federal indictment in Brooklyn, along with five co-defendants, with
running the massive drug cartel. He faces other indictments throughout
“The criminal activity Guzman allegedly directed contributed to the
death and destruction of millions of lives across the globe through
drug addiction, violence, and corruption,” Attorney General Eric
U.S. authorities expect their Mexican counterparts to cooperate with
an extradition request, given that the last time Guzman was behind
bars he managed to escape by bribing dozens of federal prison guards
in Mexico to hide him in a laundry basket and walk him out the front
door in 2001, the official noted.
The 5-foot, 6-inch kingpin, whose nickname means Shorty, became a
legendary outlaw who eluded authorities for years and was rumored to
live in various locales from Argentina to Guatemala, always on the
His empire stretched from North America to Europe and Australia thanks
to a sophisticated, international distribution system for cocaine and
methamphetamine. Sinaloa’s battles with rival cartels turned cities
like Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana into gruesome bloodbaths.
The Mexican national was estimated to be worth $1 billion, according
to Forbes magazine, which has listed him among the “World’s Most
Powerful People” since 2009 and even ranked him above the presidents
of France and Venezuela.
Guzman’s capture resulted from a massive operation that began between
Feb. 13 and 17, thanks to intelligence gleaned from recently
apprehended top Sinaloa operatives, said Michael S. Vigil, a former
senior DEA official briefed on the operation.
Mexican security agencies had discovered several houses where Guzman
stayed in the state of Sinaloa, Mexican Attorney General Murillo Karam
The tunnels connected the homes and the city’s sewer system —
presumably for escape, Karam said, without specifying which city.
Doors in the homes were reinforced with steel, a measure meant to
delay law enforcement.
Guzman was arrested with “a few” of his bodyguards nearby, Vigil said.
“He got tired of living up in the mountains and not being able to
enjoy the comforts of his wealth. He became complacent and started
coming into the city of Culiacan and Mazatlan.
“That was a fatal error,” he added.