Mexico City: Fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman eluded an operation to recapture him in northwestern Mexico in recent days, injuring his leg and face, authorities said, as the manhunt heats up. Authorities said on Sunday that efforts to nab Guzman, who embarrassed President Enrique Pena Nieto with his brazen July jailbreak, have focused on the northwest region in the past few weeks after foreign governments shared intelligence information.
“Due to these actions and to avoid his arrest, the fugitive escaped in a hurry (in recent days), which according to the information that was collected, caused him injuries to his leg and face,” the government said in a statement. “It is important to specify that these injuries were not the product of a direct clash,” it said, without specifying the extent of the injuries. The authorities did not say exactly where and when the operation took place, but raids have reportedly taken place in the neighboring states of Durango and Sinaloa.
The government said it was continuing operations to capture the Sinaloa drug cartel boss, who has been captured and escaped prison twice in his lifetime, most recently on July 11 by crawling down a hole in his cell’s shower leading to a huge tunnel. The governor of Sinaloa said Wednesday that special forces had conducted raids in Tamazula, Durango.
US Drug Enforcement Administration officials have told AFP that they believe Guzman fled to the rugged mountain region of his home state stronghold of Sinaloa following his jailbreak. The states of Durango, Sinaloa and Chihuahua meet in a drug producing region known as the Gold Triangle, a bastion of Guzman’s drug cartel.
US law enforcement officials say Guzman, 58, likely fled there because he enjoys the support of the local population. American authorities have been working with Mexican security forces in the hope of extraditing him to the United States.