Mexican police have recaptured Joaquin Guzman six months after the fugitive drug kingpin’s escape from prison.
Guzman, the head of the powerful Sinaloa cartel, was Mexico’s most-wanted fugitive. He had escaped from a maximum security prison six months ago.
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“Mission accomplished, we have him,” Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexico’s president, announced via Twitter on Friday.
Guzman, also known as El Chapo, was caught after a shootout with security forces in Los Mochis, in his home state of Sinaloa, according to a federal official.
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The official said Guzman was taken alive and was not wounded.
Five people were killed and one Mexican marine injured in the clash at a house.
The Mexican navy said marines seized two armoured vehicles, eight rifles, a handgun, and a grenade launcher in the raid that recaptured the fugitive.
“A few weeks ago there was a close call in his home state of Sinaloa, this morning not so lucky,” Al Jazeera’s Natasha Ghoneim, reporting from Ahuisculco in Mexico, said.
“The Mexican government is saying that this morning military responded to a building in Sinaloa after someone compliant that armed men were holding up inside a building.”
Hours later, Guzman – wearing a dark shirt and sweatpants – was marched by marines into a military helicopter at Mexico City’s international airport.
In a statement, the US Drug Enforcement Agency said: “The capture of Joaquin ‘Chapo’ Guzman-Loera is a victory for the rule of law and the Mexican people and government.
“It is further evidence of our two countries’ resolve to ensure justice is served for families who have been plagued by Guzman-Loera’s ruthless acts of violence.”
His prison escape in July was the second for Guzman in 15 years – and a major embarrassment for Pena Nieto.
Guzman was first captured in 1993 in Guatemala, but he escaped from a prison in western Mexico in 2001 by hiding in a laundry cart.
In July 2015, he fled a maximum-security prison near Mexico City just 17 months after authorities captured him following a 13-year manhunt.
He escaped through a 1.5km tunnel with a redesigned motorcycle on special tracks, emerging in a house outside the prison.
Nieto had refused to hand Guzman over to the US, but Mexican authorities are now likely to extradite him there.
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