Recaptured Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has been sent to the Altiplano prison in Central Mexico from where he escaped in July, reports said Saturday. The drug lord, target of a months-long manhunt, was captured by Mexican police Friday from a hotel in Los Mochis in his home state of Sinaloa on the Pacific coast.
According to a report by CNN, Mexico's attorney general said two pilots, one of Guzman's attorneys and a brother-in-law had helped Guzman escape. The attorney general also added that heavy gunfire during the arrest led to the deaths of five people while six others were arrested, NBC News reported, citing a statement from the Mexican navy.
After his arrest, Guzman was paraded in front of the media personnel by officials. The recapture of Guzman was reportedly important for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as his escape from the maximum security Altiplano prison in July 2015 had been an embarrassment for the country’s authorities.
"The arrest today is extremely important for the security institutions of the government," Nieto said, according to CNN, adding: "Today our institutions have demonstrated one more time that our citizens can trust them, and our institutions are at the level that has the strength and determination to complete any mission that is granted to them."
Guzman was arrested from Guatemala in 1992 and in 2001, he bribed officials to escape from Mexico's Puente Grande prison in a laundry basket. He was arrested again 13 years later, in 2014, only to escape again in 2015. CCTV footage of his escape in July showed him pacing in his prison cell several times before he vanished from the shower area, from where he used a mile-long tunnel to get out. The American government, which wants Guzman to be extradited to the U.S., had offered a reward of $5 million for information that could lead to his arrest, BBC reported.
A report by the Guardian said Guzman’s desire to make a biopic about himself led Mexican authorities to him. The report added that Guzman had started the process of making the biopic that showed him going from rags to riches and making it to Forbes' list of billionaires. The Guardian also reported that Guzman had tried to contact producers and actresses through intermediaries after he escaping from Altiplano. Those attempts were noticed by the authorities and eventually led to his arrest Friday night.
Attorney general Arely Gómez, according to the Guardian, said Guzman was a narcissist and wanted his fame to rise further. She added that investigators in the case tracked the movements of Guzman’s lawyers and their meetings with possible participants in the biopic. However, she did not divulge any information on who the contacted actors were.
The 58-year Sinaloa Cartel leader reportedly has a net worth of about $1 billion and his cartel, a $3 billion drug trafficking empire, controls about 25 percent of all marijuana and heroin imports into the U.S.
"It's huge. I mean, he's the number one drug-trafficking figure in history and he's been probably the world's biggest criminal fugitive," a senior official from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said, accoding to NBC News, adding: "And so it's a huge win for the rule of law. No one is above it, and it's great for the government of Mexico and the U.S., and the world."