Opinion: ‘Mission accomplished’ in recapture of Mexican drug kingpin ‘El Chapo’ -- but for how long?

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in 2014

Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman after his recapture in 2014. He escaped from prison, again, in July 2015. 

(Mario Guzman / European Pressphoto Agency)

Drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was recaptured Friday in Los Mochis after six months on the lam after a “breakout” from a Mexican prison. This is good news for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who tweeted “Mission accomplished” shortly after the news broke.

Misión cumplida: lo tenemos. Quiero informar a los mexicanos que Joaquín Guzmán Loera ha sido detenido.— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) January 8, 2016

Guzman, head of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, walked out of a maximum-security prison (his second prison break) in July through an impressively professional tunnel that, somehow, no one noticed being constructed. It cost Peña Nieto a lot of credibility.

The Mexican president regained some of it Friday, with congratulations coming quickly on social media from the likes of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency:


DEA is extremely pleased at the capture of Chapo Guzman. We congratulate the MX Government and salute the bravery involved in his capture

 and Arizona’s controversial lawman, Sheriff Joe Arpaio:

As former head of the U.S. DEA in Mexico, I send my congratulations to the Mexican authorities who finally re-captured drug kingpin El Chapo— Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) January 8, 2016

A tip led the authorities to Guzman:


He was captured again Friday in a firefight between his bodyguards and Mexican marine special forces in the Sinaloa city of Los Mochis, on the Pacific coast and not far from his home, government officials said. Five of his associates were killed, six were injured and several captured, the navy said. One marine was wounded. The special forces were responding to a citizen’s tip regarding armed people in a home when they came under fire, the navy said.

The months on the run seem to have take their toll on Guzman, if photos from Mexican news media are any indication. (Including one image showing him in “esposas,” or handcuffs.)

#AlMomento Primera fotografía de #ElChapo con ‘esposas’.— Polí (@politicomx) January 8, 2016

But the question in many minds now is, how long till Guzman slips away again?

El Chapo hitting a real life ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ plotting his next escape . How many months before he back out? Lemme know— DJ Akademiks (@IamAkademiks) January 8, 2016

I give el chapo a week or two in prison ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿— M. Salinas (@okMute) January 8, 2016

And, then, of course, there were the inevitable Twitter jokes about Donald Trump’s Twitter rumble with El Chapo:

El Chapo has been captured. Donald Trump is once again safe.— Bottlerocket (@bottlerocket13) January 8, 2016

Follow me @marielgarzaLAT

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