By Leigha Wentz,
International News Editor
Fugitive Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman managed to evade capture once again as confirmed in a statement by Mexican authorities on Saturday, Oct. 17, despite suffering several injuries to his face and leg.
According to the BBC, Mexican authorities have stated that the attempted recapture of Guzman was focused in the north-west area of the country near the fugitive’s native state of Sinaloa after intelligence indicated Guzman’s likely presence in the area.
“As a result of these actions, and to avoid his capture, in recent days, the fugitive engaged in a hasty retreat, which, according to the information received, caused him injuries to one leg and the face,” Mexican authorities said in an official statement quoted by the BBC.
The statement went on to assert that none of Guzman’s injuries came as a result of direct conflict between the fugitive and Mexican authorities.
According to NBC, Mexican Marines had located Guzman last week after U.S. drug agents intercepted cell phone signals indicating that the fugitive had gone into hiding at a ranch near the town of Cosala in the Sierra Madre mountains of western Mexico.
The Marines later conducted an aerial raid on the ranch, only to be turned back by fire from security forces reportedly employed by Guzman. A later raid conducted on foot revealed cell phones, medication and two-way radios, but no sign of Guzman and his collaborators, who had reportedly fled on ATVs.
Guzman had made headlines in July after escaping from Mexico’s maximum-security Altiplano Federal Prison through a modified tunnel connected to his shower stall.
As reported by CNN, the tunnel had connected to another, larger passageway with tracks for a modified motorcycle. While there are no additional details regarding the drug lord’s escape, Mexican authorities have admitted that a pilot flew Guzman farther away from the prison in the course of his escape. Guzman later used Twitter to taunt both the police and President Pena Nieto.
While Guzman has so far managed to evade capture, many of his suspected accomplices have reportedly been arrested by Mexican authorities.
The BBC reports that investigators have concluded that Guzman had inside help organizing his escape, leading to the arrest of several prison officials. 35 individuals, including the pilot accused of assisting Guzman in his initial escape, have been arrested since the drug lord’s escape on July 11.
According to CNN, Mexico has recently come under increased criticism for its failure to effectively deal with high-profile criminals. Several critics have gone on to put the blame on government corruption, as well as the power and influence of drug cartels within the Latin American country.
Guzman had previously been arrested in 1993 after being discovered in Guatemala.
He went on to spend close to ten years in prison before escaping in 2001 by reportedly hiding in a laundry cart, as reported by CNN. He went on to spend 13 years on the run before officials arrested him once again in 2014 with assistance from U.S. authorities.
The U.S. has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information that can lead to Guzman’s arrest. The Mexican government has offered its own reward of $3.8 million.
In the event of his arrest, Guzman will face charges of drug trafficking as well as related crimes in U.S. federal courts located in Arizona, California, Texas, Illinois, New York and Florida, among others.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, October 20th print edition.
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