July 21, 2018

No trace of Mexican drug lord after 24-hour manhunt

No trace of Mexican drug lord after 24-hour manhunt

A widespread manhunt that included highway checkpoints, stepped up border security and closure of an international airport has failed to turn up any trace of  escaped drug lord Joaquin Guzman as at late Sunday, more than 24 hours after he got away.

Widely considered the world’s richest and most powerful drug trafficker before his capture last year, Guzman slipped down a shaft from his prison cell’s shower area late Saturday and disappeared into a sophisticated mile-long (1.5 kilometer-long) tunnel with ventilation, lighting and a motorcycle apparently used to move dirt.

“All the accolades that Mexico has received in their counter-drug efforts will be erased by this one event” if Guzman is not recaptured, said Michael S. Vigil, a retired U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration chief of international operations.

More than anything else, the escape undermined Mexico’s assertion it can deal with top drug lords at home and doesn’t need to extradite them to the U.S. The national pride that appeared to motivate Pena Nieto’s administration to prosecute drug lords like Guzman through its own court system has now turned into a national embarrassment.

According to a report from the Congressional Research Service in May, extraditions from Mexico to the U.S. peaked at 115 in 2012, the last year of Pena Nieto’s predecessor, Felipe Calderon. There were 66 last year. Read more

 

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