US authorities planned Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s capture during Mexico’s previous administration, according to a respected Mexican news source, but Mexican armed forces blocked the operation, indicating government complicity in the elusive Sinaloa Cartel leader’s repeated escapes.
Proceso correspondent Jesus Esquivel, author of the recently released book “The DEA in Mexico”, told EFE that the US presented a simple plan for Guzman’s capture to the administration of former President Felipe Calderon. The plan involved specially trained US troops entering the zone where Guzman was hiding, supported by remotely controlled planes with missiles. According to the agent, the operation would have taken only 10 to 15 minutes, but was halted by the Mexican navy and army because they were not included in the plan.
Jose Baeza, one of a group of several DEA agents interviewed by Esquival, said that the United States provided all the information necessary to catch Guzman on at least two occasions during the Calderon administration, and has continued to provide information since. The Mexican government knew where he was, said Baeza, but various political links afforded the cartel leader protection.
“The day that they arrest certain politicians they are going to discover many truths regarding the mysteries of Chapo and the Sinaloa Cartel,” he stated.
Following Esquivel’s interview, reports emerged that Guzman’s father-in-law had been arrested. This is only the most recent case involving members of Guzman’s family who have been targeted by law enforcement: the father-in-law had been blacklisted by the US Treasury earlier this year, following sanctions imposed against Guzman’s sons in 2012.
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This report is far from the first indication that the Mexican government is not doing its part to capture Guzman. A 2010 NPR investigation indicated that Mexican policy favored the Sinaloa Cartel over other cartels, evidenced by a comparatively low number of arrests. Additionally, an investigation by Mexico newspaper El Universal found that the Mexican goverment may have faked the reported near capture of Guzman in 2012.