By Veronica Gomez and Dave Graham
Mexico recaptured the world’s most notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman with U.S. help in a violent standoff on Friday, six months after he humiliated President Enrique Pena Nieto with a jaw-dropping escape from a maximum security prison.
The head of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, who Pena Nieto first caught in February 2014, was captured at a roadside motel after an early morning operation that killed five in the city of Los Mochis in the drug baron’s native northwestern state of Sinaloa.
“Mission accomplished: We have him,” Pena Nieto said on his Twitter account. “I want to inform all Mexicans that Joaquin Guzman Loera has been arrested.”
For Pena Nieto, the capture of a trafficker who twice slipped out of Mexican prisons is a sorely-needed victory after his presidency was tarnished by graft and human rights scandals and the shame of the kingpin’s July flight.
It also provides a major boost for U.S.-Mexico relations, strained by the apparent ease with which Guzman gave Mexican authorities the slip after the United States requested his extradition.