The Capture of “El Chapo” Guzman
CNN and other news sites reported that there was the capturing of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, the notorious drug leader, in Mexico on January 8th, 2016. Guzman was caught in the Sinaloa state, in Mexico. This was Guzman’s hometown. According to reports on the capture of El Chapo Guzman, “The home where he was captured Friday had been under surveillance for a month, Attorney General Arely Gomez said. Guzman arrived at the house Thursday, and authorities raided it in the wee hours of Friday. When the Mexican navy arrived, they encountered gunfire from inside, according to Gomez. The navy said five suspects died and six others were arrested. One navy personnel was injured” (CNN, 2016).
However, Guzman was able to escape from the home, which then resulted in an escape attempt, in which led to the police following Guzman through the city. Guzman was then said to have taken a car, then then led authorities on a chase ride. Authorities did eventually catch him; “He almost escaped again, but authorities located the car on a highway outside the city and nabbed him” (CNN, 2016).
Following the capture of El Chapo Guzman, it is expected that the authorities will be taking Guzman to the same prison in which he escaped from six months ago. If we recall, El Chap Guzman broke out of jail in July through tunnels dug under the prison.
According to reports, a large part of the reason why authorities were able to capture “El Chapo” Guzman was because of the known intentions that he had of making a movie. Those associated with Guzman were contacting film producers, as well as actresses, and through this, authorities were better able know where Guzman would be (CNN, 2016).
Sadly, the capture of “El Chapo” Guzman is not believed to help greatly in reducing conflict related to the drug trade in Mexico. As Serrano (2016) writes:
But the effect of Guzman’s arrest on organized crime in Mexico remains uncertain. His detention, analysts say, does nothing to combat corruption, the deeply ingrained vestige of Mexico’s authoritarian past. That corruption — fueled by multibillion-dollar drug profits — continues to influence local police, judges and politicians. And it remains a pillar of drug traffickers’ ability to operate.
“Guzman’s detention has huge political significance for (Peña Nieto). It prolongs his honeymoon with Europe and the United States,” said Edgardo Buscaglia, a crime expert at Columbia University and president of the Citizen Action Institute in Mexico. “But his arrest will have little effect in the absence of judicial controls, within a judicial system that produces one sentence for every 100 crimes.”
“Mexican governments have not dismantled the production and distribution systems of legal businesses that form part of the Sinaloa network,” Buscaglia said. “These still exist despite El Chapo’s arrest.”
With regards to what will happen next following the capture of El Chapo Guzman, there are reports saying that the United States government may request that Mexico extradite Guzman to the United States. According to government spokesperson Peter Carr, he said: “I can confirm that it is the practice of the United States to seek extradition whenever defendants subject to U.S. charges are apprehended in another country” (Almasy, 2016). Others such as Mike McCaul, R-Texas, who serves as the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security was quoted as saying “We cannot afford to let #ElChapo slip the bonds of justice again. We need to extradite him to the United States” (Almasy, 2016).
This is not the first time that a capture of El Chapo Guzman has led the United States to request extradition. There has been arguments as to why leaders in Mexico did not extradite Guzman to the United States. As Almasy writes:
[President Enrique Peña] Nieto wanted to limit U.S. involvement in Mexico’s drug war and felt having the United States possibly imprison Mexico’s top criminal would be a blow to the country’s ego and sovereignty.
Others said former Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam scuttled any potential deal.
While some theorize Mexican officials feared Guzman might expose dirty dealings among the country’s politicians, Murillo Karam said he disapproved of the United States cutting deals with criminals — as it did in 2013 with Jesús Vicente “El Vicentillo” Zambada Niebla, the son of Guzman’s top lieutenant — and not sharing with Mexico any intelligence from their cooperation.
It will be interesting to see what happens with regards to the holding of Guzman, and how the international relations between the United States and Mexico on the issue of extradition will transpire.
Almasy, S. (2016). U.S. indicates Washington wants ‘El Chapo’ extradited. CNN. January 9th, 2016. Available Online:
Karima, F. & & Romeo, R. (2016). ‘El Chapo’ returns to same prison he escaped from. CNN, January 9th, 2016. Available Online: http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/09/americas/el-chapo-captured-mexico/index.html
Serrano, A. (2016). Guzman’s arrest unlikely to ease violence in Mexico. Al Jazeera, January 9th, 2016. Available Online: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/2/24/chapo-guzman.html