They don't call him the Bill Gates of drug running for nothing. As long-running boss of Mexico's beleaguered Sinaloa cartel, its believed he not only effectively owned the drug pipeline stretching from Central American through Mexico and on toward Chicago--who just declared him Public Enemy No. 1--but that his narco empire spans 140 countries.
Joaquín Guzmán Loera, known simply as el Chapo, has for all intents and purposes changed why and how drugs are muled across borders. He is legend, the subject of untold hundreds of narcocorridos. And he was maybe just gunned down along the Mexican-Guatelama border.
It's all still a bit unclear, which is par for course in this game. But guatemalan officials are investigating whether Chapo was killed late Thursday in a gunfight with Guatemalan forces near Peten, an area of jungle on the border with Mexico. As Al Jazeera reports, police have collected fingerprints and photos of the scene, which are now undergoing crosschecks by Mexican authorities.
"The first information we have is that it could be him," Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez told local radio. Nothing, for now, is "100 percent" certain, Lopez cautioned.
Guatemala's state-run Agencia Guatemalteca de Noticias first reported the incident, saying that vehicles, weapons and two dead people were found in San Valentin. Ulises Anzueto, Guatemala's defense minister, said earlier that he "had no information confirming a clash between soliders and drug traffickers" and that he has no evidence to back claims that Chapo had been hanging in or around Peten.
President Enrique Pen Nieto, who campaigned on the promise of doing away with the whac-a-capo style approach to stemming drug violence, said he's "hoping to get some information soon."
So, who knows. When no one really knows who the hell the real Chapo even is to begin with, this all has to be taken with a giant grain of salt. But if indeed the man has met his end--in true capo fashion, no less--expect a massive power vacuum to potentially open up as the next cartel in line vies for glory and profit in Mexico's ongoing and bloody land grab saga.
With that, here's a crazy thing from mother site VICE about cartels and the fucking Romney's, who, naturally, are warring.
Reach Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org. @thebanderson