Mexican authorities have recaptured fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, six months after his prison break, President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Friday.
“Mission accomplished: We got him. I want to inform Mexicans that Joaquin Guzman Loera has been arrested,” Pena Nieto wrote on Twitter.
A presidential spokesman confirmed the authenticity of the tweet to AFP, but declined to give more details, saying that a press conference would be held later today.
Mexican marines have conducted extensive operations in the northwestern states of Sinaloa and Durango in search of Guzman since the 58-year-old drug lord’s spectacular July 11 escape.
News of his arrest came shortly after the navy reported that five suspects were killed and a troop wounded in a clash with marines in the Sinaloa city of Los Mochis, but it did not indicate whether it was related to Guzman.
Six people were detained after the shootout, which broke out when marines were tipped off about the presence of armed men in a home, the navy said in a statement.
A suspected gang leader identified as Orso Ivan Gastelum Cruz, was in the house but managed to escape, the navy said.
On July 11, after 17 months at the Altiplano maximum-security prison in central Mexico, Guzman slipped through a hole in his cell’s shower, climbed on a motorcycle mounted on rails, and traveled 1.5 kilometers (one mile) through a tunnel.
US and Mexican law enforcement officials say Guzman then flew to his home turf at the Sinaloa-Durango state border because he is revered as a modern-day Robin Hood in the region.
Marines nearly captured him in October in a remote mountain region straddling the two states. Authorities said Guzman injured his face and a leg while falling in the rough terrain, but special forces failed to nab him.
Guzman had been previously captured on February 22, 2014, in the Sinaloa resort of Mazatlan. He was found in a condo with his wife and their young twin daughters.
He had been on the lam for 13 years after escaping a first time in 2001 from another prison, in western Jalisco state, by hiding in a laundry cart. He had spent eight years in prison following his 1993 capture in Guatemala.