'El Chapo' captured, Mexican president says
Published Friday, January 8, 2016 1:32PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, January 9, 2016 12:08AM EST
Drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman was re-captured Friday, six months after he escaped from a maximum-security prison through a tunnel.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto announced Guzman’s arrest on Twitter, saying: 'Mission accomplished: We have him.”
He later addressed the nation from the National Palace in Mexico City, saying that Guzman’s capture was the result of co-operation among the country’s law enforcement agencies and the military.
Pena Nieto called it an “extremely important” arrest that proves the competence and efficiency of Mexico’s security forces.
Guzman’s escape from a maximum-security prison near Mexico City in mid-July was a major embarrassment for the president and his administration.
Guzman had escaped through a sophisticated tunnel that opened in the floor of his cell's shower.
The tunnel was approximately 1.7 metres high and fully ventilated and lit. It also contained a motorcycle adapted to run on rails that authorities believe was used to carry dirt and tools in and out during the tunnel's construction.
It’s thought he then travelled through the two-kilometre-long tunnel that ended at a shack, where he was picked up by accomplices and flown to a mountainous region in his home state of Sinaloa.
On Friday, Mexican marines, acting on a tip, raided a home in the town of Los Mochis before dawn while being fired on from inside the structure.
Five suspects were killed and one marine wounded. Six others were arrested. The marine's injuries were not life threatening.
A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that authorities located Guzman several days ago, based on reports that he was in Los Mochis.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said police even searched storm drains in the area before arresting Guzman.
At the home where he was arrested, marines seized two armoured vehicles, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, eight long guns, and one handgun.
Guzman was first arrested in Guatemala in 1993, extradited and sentenced to 20 years in prison on drug-trafficking-related charges.
He escaped prison in 2001, reportedly in a laundry cart with the help of guards who were later prosecuted.
He was re-captured in February 2014 in a modest beachside high-rise in the Pacific Coast resort city of Mazatlan where he had been hiding with his wife and twin daughters.
The U.S. Justice Department did not immediately say whether it would push to extradite Guzman to the United States, where he also faces charges in various jurisdictions.
Pena Nieto’s announcement about Guzman’s capture caused a big stir on social media Friday. Within four hours, the president’s message was retweeted 76,700 times.
With files from The Associated Press