(NEW YORK) — Mexican authorities said today they captured the son of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the notorious leader of one of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels.
Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar, a suspected high-level operative in his father’s Sinaloa cartel, was nabbed Tuesday morning in Guadalajara, Mexico, according to a statement released by the Mexican Navy.
The younger Guzman was indicted in Chicago in 2009 for his alleged role in “narcotics trafficking activities to import multi-ton quantities of cocaine from Central and South American countries, through Mexico, and into the United States.”
Earlier this month, the U.S. Treasury Department designated Guzman Salazar and his wife, Maria Alegandrina Salazar Hernandez, as key Sinaloa cartel operatives.
“This action builds on Treasury’s aggressive efforts, alongside its law enforcement partners, to target individuals who facilitate Chapo Guzman’s drug trafficking operations and to pursue the eventual dismantlement of his organization, which is culpable in untold violence,” Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said then. Guzman Salazar’s wife, the Treasury Department said, provided “material support” for drug trafficking activities.
In February, Mexican authorities nearly nabbed “El Chapo” himself, but the drug lord managed to escape — a blunder that left American officials questioning whether someone was tipping him off.
Time and again, the U.S. provides Mexican law enforcement with precise intelligence about the safe houses where “El Chapo” is hiding. And every time the Mexicans raid a house, the man that the U.S. government calls “the most powerful drug trafficker in the world” manages to escape at the last minute.
“Every time he gets away, they tell us, ‘He got out the back door,'” said one American official. U.S. officials have started to joke that “there is no word for ‘surround’ in Spanish.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chieu Luu and Huizhong Wu, CNN
Michael Pearson and Steve Almasy, CNN
Sheena McKenzie, CNN