With Near Capture and Exclusive Video, El Chapo in Spotlight Again

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Authorities in Mexico nearly captured Joaquin Guzman, alias ‘El Chapo,’ in late February 2012. Along with a rare video showing Guzman at work, the elusive Sinaloa Cartel leader has been unusually visible in recent days.

According to an Associated Press exclusive, Guzman narrowly escaped a raid on a mansion in Los Cabos, a resort town where US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been visiting just a day before. Two women and two men were arrested, one of whom allegedly served as Guzman’s pilot.

The AP’s report follows the arrest of Erick Valencia Salazar, alias “El 85”, leader of Sinaloa allies the Jalisco Cartel New Generation (CJNG).

Saturday, Blog Del Narco released a video (watch below) of Guzman apparently interrogating an unknown man about the whereabouts of rival traffickers, a rare appearance for the secretive drug kingpin who has not appeared on camera in years.

InSight Crime Analysis

Authorities are working hard to capture Guzman and the efforts have become especially conspicuous during the 2012 election season. In January alone, Mexican security officials arrested five alleged Cartel lieutenants. Other arrests included one of the Cartel’s top methamphetamine producers, and the chief of Guzman’s security.

However, the near miss in Los Cabos looks like the closest authorities have come to capturing the Sinaloa leader, who has also been recently sighted in Guatemala and Argentina, according to reports. His arrest would be a priceless electoral boon for President Felipe Calderon’s PAN party, which has seen discouraging poll numbers. Guzman’s capture could also bolster arguments that Calderon’s security strategy has had its successes, and could discourage the three presidential candidates from advocating for a serious re-haul.

Nonetheless, the PAN may not be able to count on apprehending Guzman by the July election. That Guzman was able to escape so quickly before the raid took place suggests that he still has important contacts feeding him timely intelligence.

The video obtained by Blog Del Narco is another intriguing look at arguably the world’s most wanted man. A transcript, avaliable at Blog del Narco, suggests that Guzman was interrogating an unidentified man about rival criminal groups. Blog del Narco reports that they received the video by e-mail, but does not provide information on when and where the video was filmed, or why Guzman was personally interrogating a source. Since Guzman rarely appears in photographs, the video may have been obtained by one of his associates without his permission.

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