• Connect with us on Linkedin

Did Mexican Authorities Fake El Chapo Capture Attempt?

A 2012 operation to catch "El Chapo" is missing from police records A 2012 operation to catch "El Chapo" is missing from police records

In February 2012, Mexican police announced they had come close to capturing the world's most elusive kingpin, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. However, a newspaper investigation found that there is no record that the supposed operation to snag the Sinaloa Cartel boss ever took place.

Linkedin
Google +

El Chapo's apparent close call made headlines around the world, especially after the Mexican authorities released lurid details of how the capo only escaped thanks to canceling a planned tryst with a prostitute because she was menstruating.

Then-Deputy Attorney General Jose Cuitlahuac Salinas Martinez revealed details of the operation, telling the media how police had raided a mansion in Punta Ballena at the beach resort of Los Cabos in Baja California. According to Salinas, they discovered firearms on the premises and arrested a gardener, cook, pilot and the sex worker, whose names were never released.

The operation supposedly took place on 21 February, the day after then-US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had met business leaders in the town.

However, when Mexican newspaper El Universal submitted a Freedom of Information request about the operation, the Federal Police, who supposedly participated in the raid, replied they had no record of any operation in the region on that day. The only record the police had of operations in the region around that time was the opening of an investigation in Punta Bellena two days after the supposed raid.

InSight Crime Analysis

The supposed raid on El Chapo's Los Cabos mansion was lauded at the time as the closest the Mexican authorities had come to nabbing the world's most famous active narco-trafficker since his 2007 wedding festivities.

As InSight Crime noted at the time, efforts to capture El Chapo were especially prominent in the run-up to the 2012 elections. This led to speculation that then-President Felipe Calderon and his National Action Party (PAN) were hoping to claw their way back into the race through the arrest of El Chapo, which they hoped would vindicate Calderon's controversial security policies to a skeptical electorate.

The Mexican authorities have yet to respond to El Universal's accusations. Unless they produce an explanation involving a massive administrative oversight, then they will have serious questions to answer, either over how operations were carried out unofficially, or who would create a fictitious police operation, and why.

One possibility is that the Federal Police leadership made up the details of the operation to distract attention from their bungling of the hunt for El Chapo. Writing in blog Borderland Beat in March last year, journalist Jaime Dettmer said unnamed insider sources told him that the Federal Police accidentally alerted El Chapo to the fact they were on his trail just hours before the raid was scheduled to take place, then leaked the story in order to cover the blunder.

Linkedin
Google +

---

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We also encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, provided that it is attributed to InSight Crime in the byline, with a link to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

InSight Crime Search

The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas

InSight Crime Social

facebooktwittergooglelinkedin

InSight Crime Special Series

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

Los Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

After the capture of Zetas boss "Z40," Nuevo Laredo is bracing itself for the worst. This investigation breaks down what makes the city such an important trafficking corridor, and what it will take for the Zetas to maintain their grip on the city.

See entire series »

 

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill

Uruguay: Marijuana, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug.

See entire series »

El Salvador's Gang Truce

El Salvador's Gang Truce

The truce between El Salvador's two largest gangs -- the MS-13 and the Barrio 18 -- opens up new possibilities in how to deal with

See entire series »

Juarez After The War

Juarez After The War

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality.

See entire series »

The Zetas And The Battle For Monterrey

The Zetas and the Battle for Monterrey

InSight Crime delves into the Zetas' battle for Mexico’s industrial capital, Monterrey, getting to the essence of a criminal gang that defies easy definition.

See entire series »

Slavery in Latin America

Slavery in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into modern slavery, looking at how Latin America’s criminal groups traffic human beings and force them to work as slaves.

See entire series »

FARC, Peace and Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is being dangled before Colombia. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, the enemies of the negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the process are high.

See entire series »

Displacement in Latin America

Displacement in Latin America

InSight Crime coordinated an investigation into the new face of displacement in Latin America, where organized criminal groups are expanding and forcing people to flee.

See entire series »

Target: Migrants

Target: Migrants

The growth of organized crime in Mexico and Central America has led to an increase in violence and insecurity across the region, posing challenges to citizens, public security forces, and travelers.

See entire series »

Zetas in Guatemala

The Zetas in Guatemala

Mexico's Zetas have taken Guatemala by storm, and they are testing this country and the rest of the region: fail this test, and Central America sinks deeper into the abyss.

See entire series »

Most Read

Few Escape Extortion in Medellin, Colombia

Few Escape Extortion in Medellin, Colombia

According to a Colombian business federation, 90 percent of small business owners in the Medellin area are victims of extortion, a figure that underscores both the prevalence of the crime and its enormous economic impact.

Read more

Closer to Global Drug Policy Reform? Not So Fast

Closer to Global Drug Policy Reform? Not So Fast

A report by a panel of high-profile political figures states that the taboo around discussing new approaches to drug regulation has been broken. But while alternative drug policy advocates have enjoyed significant victories in the past...

Read more

Did Narco-Linked El Salvador Congressman Plan Hit on Top Prosecutor?

Did Narco-Linked El Salvador Congressman Plan Hit on Top Prosecutor?

El Salvador's attorney general has accused a congressman of plotting his murder, adding a new twist to an ongoing case that has exposed alleged close ties between the legislator and a major drug trafficking network.

Read more

Latest Criminal Profile