Drug boss ‘El Chapo’ is injured while eluding authorities, Mexico says
mexico city — The world’s most wanted drug boss, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, narrowly evaded security forces searching for him in northwest Mexico in recent days, sustaining injuries to his face and leg, Mexican officials said.
Guzmán, the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, escaped from his maximum-security prison cell in July through a specially dug tunnel, causing a major embarrassment for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
“It’s important to clarify that these injuries were not a product of a direct clash,” a government statement released Friday said, without giving further information.
A Mexican official said Saturday that Guzmán escaped to a mountainous region of his home state of Sinaloa after his July 11 prison break.
Based on this information, the search for Guzmán has focused in recent weeks on a rugged area that stretches from Sinaloa into neighboring Durango state, part of Mexico’s famed “Golden Triangle” drug-producing region that is considered Guzmán’s home turf, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
Guzmán escaped through a sophisticated tunnel that opened in the floor of his cell’s shower. A surveillance video shows him walking to the shower — where there was a blind spot in the security camera’s view — crouching and then vanishing.
Mexico has issued arrest warrants for 23 former officials, guards or police officers who are accused of participating in his escape.
The official said that after Guzmán escaped from the prison, he was taken to the central state of Queretaro. From there, he was flown on a small plane to the Sinaloan mountains, the official said. Several days ago, Mexican Attorney General Arely Gómez told the nation’s congress that authorities had captured a pilot who aided Guzmán after his escape.
Guzmán previously escaped from another maximum-security prison in 2001. His most recent escape strained relations with Washington, which had formally requested the drug kingpin’s extradition just weeks earlier.