In the resort town of Mazatlan, Mexico, the head of one of the worlds most dangerous and powerful drug cartels, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was captured on Sat. Feb. 22. With the help of Mexican Marines and officials the Drug Enforecement Agency brought down the infamous leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Also known as Mexico’s Osama Bin Laden, Joaquin Guzman has led a brutal and bloody battle throughout Mexico to take control of key trafficking territories. The drug empire Guzman has created stretches as far as Australia and Europe.
Guzman has been eluding law enforcement for over a decade with a $7 million bounty on his head. The manhunt for Guzman began in 2001 after he escaped from a Mexican prison in a laundry truck. Living everywhere from Argentina to Guatemala, Guzman has been a hard man for U.S. and Mexican intelligence agencies to capture. Guzman is worth more than $1 billion dollars as reported by Forbes Magazine.
Over 70,000 people have been killed in the drug war since 2006. Benjamin Garcia, a sophomore in exercise science from Mexico, said, “Mexicans would rather live illegally in the United States than live with the fear and violence in Mexico. According to law enforcement officials, there is no drug-trafficking organization in Mexico with the scope, the savvy, the operational ability, expertise and knowledge as the Sinaloa cartel.”
Freddie Ika, a special instructor in psychology from Oakland, said, “They need to focus on taking down the entire organization, and not just focus on one person.”
Mexico’s largest drug busts have been from the Sinaloa Cartel, finding more than 134 tons of marijuana and an underground methamphetamine lab. The recent capture of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is a major blow to the Sinaloa Cartel and the illegal drug industry. U.S. and Mexico officials hope that the drug war will become weakened by the recent capture of Guzman and other top cartel officials.
According to law enforcement, Guzman has had significant protection from villagers in the mountains of the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Durango. Guzman is also thought to have paid off several law enforcement officials to elude many close captures, one being in 2012 in Cabo San Lucas, a Baja California resort town, hindering tourism in the area even more.
Nicole Staudte, a sophomore in marketing from Iowa, said, “Just because the main guy is gone doesn’t mean Mexico will be safer. I think it will remain dangerous from all the lower level dealers fighting for Guzman’s spot.”