Mexico, U.S. Efforts Escalate in Manhunt for “El Chapo”

DEA officials have ramped up their efforts in the pursuit of cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman since his escape from a Mexican prison on July 11, 2015. The U.S. agency is providing intelligence and personnel to the Mexican government, according to an anonymous official. The DEA has also created international e-mail and telephone tip lines to gather information related to the case. A $5 million reward has been posted for tips leading to Guzman’s arrest.

Stateside, DEA officials are looking for Guzman’s wife Emma Coronel Aispuro. They are not looking to arrest or detain her, although she is the daughter of one of Guzman’s top deputies. She is now a U.S. citizen living in California, and gave birth to the couple’s twin daughters in a Los Angeles Hospital in August 2011. Authorities believe she may have information regarding Guzman’s whereabouts.

Acting DEA Chief Chuck Rosenberg told reporters back in August that they had no substantial evidence of the drug lord’s location. However, he believed Guzman was still in Mexico. Rosenberg suspected that Guzman’s access to enormous amounts of money and the protection of his criminal organization would lead him to stay in his home country. “I know the Mexicans are trying everything they can to find him,” he said in a press briefing, “They are working on it; we are working on it with them.”

On October 23rd, U.S. authorities assisted Mexico in shutting down a drug-smuggling tunnel that ran from Tijuana to San Diego. The tunnel was attributed to Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel. U.S. federal agents uncovered the tunnel using intelligence gathered through a six-month-long undercover operation investigating the activities of a Mexican cartel. This is the 10th underground tunnel from Mexico to the San Diego area discovered since 2002.

The U.S. agency did not comment on the anonymous source. News of the DEA’s involvement comes one day after Mexican authorities announced they had detained six of Guzman’s associates believed to be involved with the escape. Among those arrested was Guzman’s lawyer Oscar Manuel Gomez, who is accused of plotting and executing the plan to break Guzman out of prison.

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