EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

February 23, 2014

Mexico captures Sinaloa cartel boss 'Chapo' Guzman

(Continued)

One American retiree living in the building, who did not want to give his name, said he has lived there for two years and never heard or saw anything unusual.

Vigil said Mexico may decide to extradite Guzman to the U.S. to avoid any possibility that he escapes from prison again, as he did in 2001 in a laundry truck — a feat that fed his larger-than-life persona.

“It would be a massive black eye on the (Mexican) government if he is able to escape again. That’s the only reason they would turn him over,” Vigil said.

Because insiders aided his escape, rumors circulated for years that he was helped and protected by former Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s government, which vanquished some of his top rivals.

In the bilateral assault on organized crime and Mexican drug cartels, Sinaloa had not only been relatively unscathed, but has seen its enemies go down at the hands of the government.

Aggressive assaults by the Mexican military and federal police have all but dismantled the leadership of the Beltran Leyva and Zetas cartels, both huge rivals of Sinaloa, as well as the La Linea gang fighting Sinaloa for control of the border city of Ciudad Juarez.

Calderon congratulated Pena Nieto on the capture Saturday via his Twitter account. Many also noted the huge boost that capture gave to the credibility of the Pena Nieto government, whose commitment to fighting organized crime has been questioned since he took office in late 2012.

But there were rumors circulating for months that a major operation was under way to take down the Sinaloa cartel.

Zambada’s son was arrested in November after entering Arizona, where he had an appointment with U.S. immigration authorities to arrange legal status for his wife.

The following month, Zambada’s main lieutenant was killed as Mexican helicopter gunships sprayed bullets at his mansion in the Gulf of California resort of Puerto Penasco in a four-hour gunbattle. Days later, police in the Netherlands arrested a flamboyant top enforcer for Zambada as he arrived in Amsterdam.

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