HomeNewsBriefDid Mexican Authorities Fake El Chapo Capture Attempt?
BRIEF

Did Mexican Authorities Fake El Chapo Capture Attempt?

EL CHAPO / 13 FEB 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

In February 2012, Mexican police announced they had come close to capturing the world’s most elusive kingpin, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. However, a newspaper investigation found that there is no record that the supposed operation to snag the Sinaloa Cartel boss ever took place.

El Chapo’s apparent close call made headlines around the world, especially after the Mexican authorities released lurid details of how the capo only escaped thanks to canceling a planned tryst with a prostitute because she was menstruating.

Then-Deputy Attorney General Jose Cuitlahuac Salinas Martinez revealed details of the operation, telling the media how police had raided a mansion in Punta Ballena at the beach resort of Los Cabos in Baja California. According to Salinas, they discovered firearms on the premises and arrested a gardener, cook, pilot and the sex worker, whose names were never released.

The operation supposedly took place on 21 February, the day after then-US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had met business leaders in the town.

However, when Mexican newspaper El Universal submitted a Freedom of Information request about the operation, the Federal Police, who supposedly participated in the raid, replied they had no record of any operation in the region on that day. The only record the police had of operations in the region around that time was the opening of an investigation in Punta Bellena two days after the supposed raid.

InSight Crime Analysis

The supposed raid on El Chapo’s Los Cabos mansion was lauded at the time as the closest the Mexican authorities had come to nabbing the world’s most famous active narco-trafficker since his 2007 wedding festivities.

As InSight Crime noted at the time, efforts to capture El Chapo were especially prominent in the run-up to the 2012 elections. This led to speculation that then-President Felipe Calderon and his National Action Party (PAN) were hoping to claw their way back into the race through the arrest of El Chapo, which they hoped would vindicate Calderon’s controversial security policies to a skeptical electorate.

The Mexican authorities have yet to respond to El Universal’s accusations. Unless they produce an explanation involving a massive administrative oversight, then they will have serious questions to answer, either over how operations were carried out unofficially, or who would create a fictitious police operation, and why.

One possibility is that the Federal Police leadership made up the details of the operation to distract attention from their bungling of the hunt for El Chapo. Writing in blog Borderland Beat in March last year, journalist Jaime Dettmer said unnamed insider sources told him that the Federal Police accidentally alerted El Chapo to the fact they were on his trail just hours before the raid was scheduled to take place, then leaked the story in order to cover the blunder.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 4 APR 2017

A new report from a US government watchdog has found that multiple agencies were at fault in a series of…

INFOGRAPHICS / 30 NOV 2010

InSight Crime maps where Mexican authorities have found mass graves in Mexico since the beginning of 2010. …

MEXICO / 26 OCT 2012

Following the recent declaration by a top US official that Mexico's cartels are seeing their last days, analyst…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…