Son of drug lord Joaquin ‘Chapo’ Guzman arrested
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MEXICO CITY — Mexican forces on Thursday detained a son of Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman, the world’s most wanted drug kingpin.
In a brief statement, the navy said “intelligence work” led marines to Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar, 26, in the western state of Jalisco. Mexican media reported he was captured in Zapopan, a suburb of Guadalajara.
The arrest comes two weeks after the Treasury Department added Guzman Salazar to its black list of drug suspects with whom American citizens are barred from doing business. The move also freezes any assets the suspect has in the United States.
Chapo Guzman has numerous children by different women. Two of his other sons, Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar, 31, and Ovidio Guzman Lopez, 22, were put on the black list in May, accused of playing ‘significant roles’ in their father’s drug empire.
The arrest of a close Guzman relative amounts to a government blow against the drug lord, whose trafficking empire extends deep into the United States and, increasingly, around the world. The elder Guzman is listed by Forbes as one of the richest men in the world.
The navy did not specify criminal charges against Guzman Salazar, but the attorney general’s office planned a news conference later in the day.
[Updated, 3:20 p.m. June 21: Speaking to reporters, a navy spokesman described Guzman Salazar as a ‘director’ of the cartel based in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, and said he was one of the group’s main money managers.]
The fact that Guzman remains at large — he escaped prison in 2001— has been an embarrassment for President Felipe Calderon, who launched a military-led offensive against drug traffickers when he took office nearly six years ago.
While the crackdown has led to a number of high-profile arrests, Guzman has eluded capture, fueling speculation that the Calderon administration has gone easy on him. Many here have speculated that the government might haul him in before the July 1 presidential election, in an attempt to boost support for Calderon’s National Action Party, or PAN. The PAN candidate, Josefina Vazquez Mota, is far behind in the polls.
Several Guzman aides and allieshave been arrested in recent months in a sign the net might be closing around the crime boss. U.S. agents say the rising heat may even have led Guzman to be viewed as a liability by his associates.
-- Ken Ellingwood
Photo: Joaquin ‘Chapo’ Guzman is the world’s most wanted drug kingpin. Credit: Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press