A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014

El Chapo Guzmán arrested in Mazatlán

Sinaloa resort city continues to be site of downfall for top drug traffickers

Tijuana worries that his detention will add to rising violence in border city

      Joaquin el chapo guzmanMazatlán continues to be a magnet for drug traffickers, and for their downfall. Tijuana cartel enforcer Ramón Arellano Félix was shot to death in Mazatlán on Feb. 10, 2002, when he went there to kill the Sinaloa Cartel's Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada. Now the Sinaloa Cartel's Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, who escaped from prison in 2001 when it appeared his control over the prison might be ending following the installation of Vicente Fox as president, has been recaptured — in Mazatlán.

      It was unclear what effect Guzmán's arrest would have on violence in Mexico and Tijuana. U-T San Diego's Sandra Dibble quoted Tijuana human rights activist Víctor Clark as saying Zambada already has such tight control over Tijuana that Guzmán's detention should not make much difference. But some officials and residents in Tijuana told MexicoPerspective that they worried that his death could add to the rising violence in the border city.

      In 1992, Guzmán tried but failed to have Arellano Félix brothers killed in Mazatlán's Christine disco; the next year, an Arellano Félix attempt to have Guzmán killed at the Guadalara airport resulted instead in the slaying of Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo, formerly a bishop of Tijuana. That led to the subsequent arrest of Guzmán in Guatemala and his transfer to Mexican prison.

      The United States, which played a role in Guzmán's arrest in Mazatlán, indicated that it would seek his extradition.

      Guzmán's wife, and twin daughters born in Lancaster, Calif., in 2011, were with him when he was captured.


2009 New York Times story on Mazatlán as a tourist destination for those vicarious about drug trafficking.
Los Angeles Times story on Guzmán arrest.

Update, Feb. 24: Tijuana business leaders fear increased violence. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).

Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014

Hundreds in Sinaloa march to protest possible extradition of 'El Chapo' Guzmán

      Mexican media reported that thousands of Sinaloans marched Wednesday in Culiacán and Guamúchil against any possible extradition of drug trafficker Joaquín "El Chapo Guzmán," who was rearrested Saturday. One poster even advocated Guzmán's release. Sinaloa Gov. Mario López Valdez said Guzmán's family and friends organized the marches.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. Governor's comments.
On Tuesday, Mexican media reported that a judge had granted a temporary injunction against Guzmán's extradition. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Story, Los Angeles Times.

Update, March 3: 211 arrested in Sunday demonstration in favor of Guzmán. Story, Associated Press.

Update, March 5: Injunction against extradition denied. Story, Frontera (PDF).