Mexican navy commandos have captured the crown jewel of kingpins. Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, one of the worlds most notorious drug lords was taken down in a quick and seamless operation early Saturday. A crack team of military personnel who had been plotting his capture for years since he escaped from a high security Mexican prison in 2001, made the arrest without any injuries or blood shed. It is said that there was some assistance from American DEA agents. The 56-year-old Guzman has long been Mexico’s most elusive criminal, and with his capture comes the downfall of one of the World’s biggest and most vicious kingpin drug lords.
Guzman was able to hide out for years in the mountainous communities and small beach towns of Mexico. He was able to accomplish this with the help of locals who refused to divulge information about the elusive drug king. He was very popular among many of the poor farmers and ranchers. There were songs written about his exploits and he seemed to be loved just as much as he was feared and loathed. His reign saw the deaths of thousands from the violent clashes between warring drug cartels. Hundreds of bodies have been discovered over the years, many of the dead victims of beheading’s and execution style killings. Most if not all of these gruesome killings lead back to the murderous kingpin. Prosecutors at one time named him “Public Enemy Number One,” a title not held since the notorious Al Capone was wanted by law enforcement in Chicago.
After more than 13 years on the run and more than a handful of near miss captures, Guzman has finally been outsmarted by the Mexican military. Guzman and his henchmen were known to move about frequently, often just missing being caught by determined agents. President Enrique Nieto who took over a little more than a year ago was determined to apply new and stronger strategies in the efforts to catch Guzman. President Nieto made reducing violence his highest priority, but he also remained focus on catching the biggest fish of them all in the hopes of eventually toppling the whole syndicate. This arrest means a lot to Mexico as many of its citizens have long prayed for the capture of this world-wide drug lord that had plagued their lives for many years.
Some in Mexico see his capture as both blessing and curse. On the one hand, under ‘El Chapo’s’ bloody reign, many citizens lost loved ones and even wages as the opportunities to make an honest living were few and far between. On the other hand, he was rumored to have built schools and halt some of the violence that had become a way of life for many. Guzman took care of those he deemed worthy and readily disposed of those he did not. He was infamous for devising unique and clever ways to get his drugs where he wanted them to go. He employed submarines and even catapults as well as miles long tunnels to move his products. Now his days of those types of exploits seem to be over. Unless of course he somehow manages to escape again.
Although this may be a big win for Mexico’s administration, it may not bode well for its citizens. History has shown that when a big kingpin like Guzman is taken down, the subordinates tend to fight among themselves for control of the trade. Many bloody clashes have been known to breakout in the aftermath of major arrests such as this. Mexico has suffered much in its struggles with the cartels drug trade, but with the capture of ‘El Capo’ ‘Shorty” Guzman, the worlds biggest drug lord, they just might be in store for a much-needed reprieve.
By Mai Nowlin