News / Americas

Most-Wanted Drug Kingpin Captured in Mexico

Military personnel stand atop a truck outside the Miramar building during a raid in Mazatlan, Feb. 22, 2014.
Military personnel stand atop a truck outside the Miramar building during a raid in Mazatlan, Feb. 22, 2014.
VOA News
The world's most wanted drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, is behind bars after Mexican and U.S. agents captured him Saturday at a hotel in the Mexican resort of Mazatlan.

Agents had been tracking Guzman for weeks after Mexican police arrested other top members of his Sinaloa drug cartel.

They believe Guzman had been able to avoid capture through a series of hideouts and escape tunnels before arresting him without a shot being fired.

Guzman is wanted in the United States on a number of charges including smuggling tons of cocaine, marijuana, and heroin across the Mexican border.

His Sinaloa drug cartel stretches across North America and as far away as Europe and Australia.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder calls Guzman's arrest a victory for U.S. and Mexican citizens. He says the criminal activity Guzman has allegedly directed contributed to the deaths and destruction of millions of people through drug addiction, violence and corruption.

The Sinaloa cartel has been at the center of a bloody turf war with other cartels over drug trafficking routes in northern Mexico.

About 80,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since the early 2000's, including murders and beheadings. Former president Felipe Calderon sent in the army to try and quell the violence.

Forbes magazine lists Guzman among the world's most powerful people, saying he is worth more than $1 billion.

Mexican police arrested Guzman in 2001, but he escaped from a maximum security prison in a laundry truck.

The U.S. midwestern city of Chicago, where drug-related gang violence is a major problem, has declared Guzman "Public Enemy Number One." He is the first criminal to earn that label since the legendary organized crime boss and prohibition magnate Al Capone in the 1920's.

Some information for this report comes from AP and AFP.

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