Prostitute Saved ‘Chapo’ Guzman from Capture

Mexican authorities said that their recent near-capture of drug lord Joaquin Guzman, alias “El Chapo,” was foiled by his last minute decision to cut short a planned tryst with a sex worker.

According to an investigation by La Reforma, the coastal mansion in Los Cabos, Baja California, that police raided last month was being used by the drug lord as a temporary getaway. Guzman reportedly had an intermediary hire a prostitute, who was then blindfolded and brought to the house. The only other people in the Los Cabos mansion were a cook and a gardener, both of whom had been working there for less than a month.

The Mexican daily cites Deputy Attorney General Jose Cuitlahuac Salinas Martinez as saying that when Guzman arrived at the house, the sex worker informed him that she was menstruating. The Sinaloa Cartel chief decided to reschedule their rendezvous, and left. The prostitute stayed for several more days, and was detained when authorities raided the house.

Salinas claims that were it not for the postponed encounter, it is likely that authorities would have arrested Guzman.

Guzman is married to former beauty queen Emma Coronel, the niece of Sinaloa lieutenant Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel Villarreal, who was killed in July 2010. The couple were married in an elaborate ceremony in 2007 in the north-central state of Durango on the day of her 18th birthday, which was the last time that Mexican authorities claimed to have come close to capturing the drug trafficker.

InSight Crime Analysis

If Salinas’ account of the incident is accurate, it would suggest that authorities are indeed hot on the kingpin’s trail. However, the fact that “El Chapo” feels secure enough to consort with outsiders could indicate that he does not think he is in immediate danger.

If President Felipe Calderon does manage to capture or kill Guzman, it could serve as a vindication of his security policies, which critics say have generated more violence with few results. This could boost his National Action Party (PAN) ahead of the July presidential elections. Polls indicate that the PAN’s candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota is currently trailing Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) by 15 points, but the capture of Guzman could give Vazquez the necessary bump to close that gap.

However, it is important to recognize that Guzman’s arrest alone would not bring down the Sinaloa Cartel. The cartel is led by several other well-known kingpins (like Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and Juan Jose “El Azul” Esparragoza) who could step up and fill his shoes.