More cinematic touches to the already-incredible story surrounding the recapture of fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman emerged Monday, when authorities released a video of the raid on the house where Guzman was holed up with his henchmen.
The assault on the house in Los Mochis, Mexico, started just after 4:30 a.m. Friday, marking the beginning of the operation that resulted in Guzman’s capture, six months after his audacious escape from a maximum-security prison in central Mexico.
He had made his getaway through a professionally constructed, sophisticated tunnel equipped with lighting and ventilation that ran from the floor of his shower for about a mile to a house under construction in the fields surrounding the prison.
Now, though, he was holed up in a simple house in a run-down neighborhood. A neighbor had tipped off police to the armored vehicles and assault-style weapons that had been seen around the nondescript house.
The new footage released by the Mexican authorities opens with several Marines outside the property, with the sound of gunfire in the background – it’s not clear whether the Marines are firing or being shot at.
Next, a group of Marines is seen crouched outside the door of a room where presumably some of Guzman’s bodyguards are stationed. The exchange of gunfire is fierce, and one of the Marines is injured. One of his colleagues uncaps and throws a grenade in through the doorway, which explodes inside.
Guzman’s men keep firing from inside the house, but the Marines push forward into the room that by this time is pouring smoke, egged on by cries of “Move in!” from their commander.
“Fast! Move yourselves! Move in!” shouts the commander.
Documenting what the Mexican government is calling “Operation Black Swan,” the grainy, trembling footage seems to have been recorded by small cameras mounted on the helmets of troops. The video has been edited by the authorities, who said that five suspects were killed in the attack.
By the time the shootout was over, Guzman was already somewhere else – he and his chief henchman escaped the house through a tunnel leading through the city’s sewer system.
The authorities caught up with Guzman later, fleeing down a highway in a stolen car. He was trying to get away. But this time, he didn’t.
Bonello is a special correspondent.