Drug Lord Guzman Nearly Caught by Mexico Police

Ashley Johnson

The man the Unites States calls the world’s most powerful drug lord has apparently been hiding in plain sight. Mexican federal police nearly nabbed Joaquin Guzman aka “El Chapo” in a coastal mansion in Los Cabos three weeks ago.

Jose Salinas, Mexico’s assistant attorney general, who is in charge of organized crime investigations, confirmed on Sunday that there was a near miss in late February in the government’s efforts to arrest the man who has become one of the world’s top fugitives since he escaped prison in 2001.Since his prison escape, Guzman transformed himself from a Mexican capo or middleman into what the U.S. Treasury Department now calls one of the world’s most powerful drug traffickers.

Guzman appears annually on the Forbes magazine list of the world’s top billionaires, and also has been named by the same magazine as one of the most powerful people in the world. Currently, Guzman has a seven million dollar bounty on his head in both Mexico and in the U.S.  Teams of law enforcement agents from both countries are devoted to his live capture.

Guzman is often rumored to be hiding in the remote hills of his home state of Sinaloa, or in other locations, including Argentina for a time. WikiLeaks quoted Mexican Defense Secretary, Gen. Guillermo Galvan, as saying that Guzman moves frequently among 10 to 15 diverse locations to avoid arrest, and has a security detail of up to or succeeding 300 men.

His many narrow escapes raise the suspicion that he could be getting tipped off, including this time. “We’re still searching,” Salinas said. When asked if authorities are close on the heels of Guzman, he just smiled.

Intelligence led Mexican Police to one of several exclusive subdivisions of million-dollar homes between the Cabo San Lucas Highway and the Sinaloa coast. Guzman’s hideout was found a short distance from the country’s main military academy. Though the operation ran several days starting on Feb. 21 and though it was a near hit in terms of finding Guzman, it has given authorities much information and intelligence on his hideouts.