The hunt for fugitive Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman may have copped a break with news that he has a broken leg, according to a Mexican official who wants to remain anonymous.
He says Guzman fell off a small cliff as special forces chased him earlier this month, breaking his leg and suffering facial injuries.
The chase happened on October 9, when Mexican Marines and other special forces spotted Guzman near Mexico’s Sinaloa state town of Cosala. The official says that when he was first spotted, Guzman had with him a young girl which made authorities reluctant to move in on him fearing the girl could be injured. When he was seen without the child, authorities pounced but Guzman managed to flee on foot.
During the pursuit, Guzman fell off a cliff but bodyguards dragged him away before the special forces could reach him. They managed to escape into dense forest.
Guzman had escaped from a Mexican maximum-security prison on July 1 through an elaborate underground tunnel system.
Because of Guzman’s injuries, the official says the chances of capturing Guzman “have boosted tremendously.”
Former Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Carl Pike says, “The fact that he’s injured is one factor he didn’t count on. Now he needs help. It puts him in one particular spot that he wasn’t planning on being in before.”
But Guzman, nicknamed “Shorty” for his height, has become somewhat of an escape artist, having also broken free from another maximum-security prison in 2001, by hiding in a laundry cart.
He had been recaptured in 2014 in a much publicized combined security forces operation, which was quickly forgotten after his July escape. Jail authorities and police were accused of corruption and aiding and abetting his escape. Since then, authorities have arrested dozens of people — all except one being a government employee.
The official says Guzman is obviously being protected by residents near his hometown in Sinaloa.