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Mexican drug lord returns to infamous prison after arrest

Updated January 10, 2016

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MEXICO CITY: Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was back on Saturday in the prison he escaped from six months ago after marines recaptured him, in part thanks to his desire to make a biopic.

Guzman was arrested in a deadly military raid early on Friday that left five suspects dead in Los Mochis, a coastal city in his native northwestern state of Sinaloa.

Hours later and wearing a dark shirt and sweatpants, the world’s most wanted kingpin was frogmarched by marines into a military helicopter at Mexico City’s international airport.

Attorney General Arely Gomez said the Sinaloa drug cartel boss was being “taken again” to the Altiplano prison, some 90 kilometres west of Mexico City, alongside his security chief.

On July 11, after just 17 months at Altiplano, Guzman slipped through a hole in his cell’s shower, climbed on a motorcycle mounted on rails, and travelled 1.5 kilometres through a tunnel to freedom.

Gomez disclosed details of the months-long investigation that led to Guzman’s arrest, revealing that the infamous kingpin had even contacted producers in the hope of making a biographical film, and avoided capture in October as marines decided not to shoot because he was fleeing with a girl.

The manhunt culminated in a house in Los Mochis, which authorities began to stake out in December, Gomez said. Unusual movement emerged this week, confirming that Guzman was there.

Marines were met by gunfire when they swooped in on Friday, leaving five suspects dead and one marine wounded.

Guzman and his security chief fled through the city’s drainage system, repeating a tactic the drug kingpin successfully used in escaping authorities in 2014 in the nearby city of Culiacan.

This time however the marines expected such a move, Gomez said.

The wanted men came out of a manhole and stole a car, but they were captured on a road and taken to a motel, Gomez said. Six others were also detained in the operation.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2016