Footage of escaped Mexican drug cartel leader Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzman shows he’s alive and well. He’s also partying.
Mike Vigil, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration chief, said Thursday the video is likely authentic, My San Antonio reported. In the video, more than a dozen men with weapons are seen at a party with a band playing. One man in the video is performing dressage, a form of highly skilled horsemanship used in exhibition and competition.
“Based on several factors, there is a very strong possibility -- I would say 90 to 95 percent -- that it's [El Chapo] in the video,” Vigil said. “I don't know who else it could be."
Guzman escaped from a Mexican maximum-security prison in July by following a tunnel that led from the shower area of his cell block to freedom, CNN reported. Officials eventually found a lighted, ventilated, nearly mile-long tunnel leading out of the Altiplano Federal Prison. Associates of Guzman’s reportedly purchased land near the prison and built a house on top to disguise the exit.
Mexican authorities said at the time Guzman would be caught quickly and put behind bars once again; however, he has been free for nearly five months.
Guzman was captured in February 2014 and is considered one of the most powerful drug traffickers in the world. His drug trafficking operations reach all over the United States, and his cartel’s influence reaches most of the U.S. The Rand Corp. has estimated Mexican marijuana accounted 40-67 percent of the pot Americans smoked in 2008. Mexican cartels also play prominent roles in cocaine and heroin trafficking.
It was previously suspected Guzman had been hiding in the mountains of the Mexican states of Sinaloa or Durango. The DEA has offered a $5 million reward for information that leads to his capture.