By Alexis R. Milan
Reports that Sinaloa Cartel boss, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, may be headed to Belize or neighboring countries since his escape from maximum security prison in Mexico have caused the governments of Belize, the United States and others in the region to be on high alert, in the event he decides to cross the Mexican border.
The US Embassy in Belize issued a statement on Thursday saying the US is deeply concerned over Guzman’s escape, and in addition to his crimes in Mexico, he faces multiple drug trafficking and organized crime charges in the US. So his swift recapture by Mexican authorities is a priority for both the Mexican and the US governments.
They added that US and Mexican attorneys general have already met and discussed the matter and have agreed to focus all available resources on his recapture.
Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of National Security Colonel George Lovell told the media this week that while there is no indication that Guzman is headed in this direction, the Ministry is taking no chances. The Minister of National Security has been alerted and so has the Commissioner of Police. An All Points Bulletin (APB) was also issued to each police formation in the country.
Lovell said if the Ministry were to receive any information of Guzman’s presence in the very unlikely instance of his absconding to Belize, the first thing they would do is alert the Mexican and US authorities, who are better prepared for high security cases, and hand him over to them.
Lovell stressed that capturing such a high-profile criminal would be no easy task, as he is extremely wealthy and influential.
US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) intelligence suggests that Guzman is still in Mexico and may have returned to his roots in the rural Sinaloa Mountains of western Mexico.
Guzman has been an architect for the brutal, powerful, Sinaloa cartel, which has remained among the major players in international drug trafficking, even during his time in prison.
He was first captured in Guatemala in 1993, was extradited to Mexico and was serving a 20-year sentence when he escaped in 2001. He was recaptured, with the help of US DEA intelligence information, at a Mexican beach resort in February 2014 and had been serving time in a maximum security prison under 24-hour surveillance until his escape on Saturday.
Mexico has announced a US $3.8 million reward for information leading to his capture.
Anyone who believes they may have seen or have any information that could result in the re-capture of Guzman is encouraged to call the anonymous 922-Tips hot-line.