Officials in Guatemala said they are investigating whether Mexican cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was killed. Guzman, considered one of the most wanted drug criminals in the Americas, is the head of the powerful Sinaloa cartel—a powerful drug trafficking organization that has extended its tentacles into the illicit drug markets of many U.S. cities.
The Guatemalan authorities first said on Thursday that a man killed in a firefight near the border with Mexico might have been Guzman. But on Friday, The Associated Press reported that Guatemalan officials backtracked, saying they didn’t locate a body and could not confirm if there even was a gun battle.
“We have to wait for all the technical information in order to determine if, in fact, one of the dead is of Joaquin `El Chapo’ Guzman,” government spokesman Francisco Cuevas told the news agency. He was later quoted as saying that the body wasn’t located yet.
One of the two dead men killed on the border resembled Guzman, residents who saw the gun fight recalled to Sky News. Drug violence has increased along the two countries’ borders in recent years.
Interior Department spokeswoman Carla Herrera told AP that one of the dead men did bear a resemblance to Guzman. But this was disputed by Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla, who said, “The fact is we don’t have any of this information confirmed.”
Guzman was listed as one of the world’s richest people, with an estimated worth of more than $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine. This month, he was also labeled as Chicago’s Public Enemy No. 1—a title not given to any criminal since the days of Al Capone in the 1930s.
“Compared to Guzman, Al Capone looks like an amateur,” said J. R. Davis, president and chairman of the Chicago Crime Commission, in a press release sent out more than a week ago. “Guzman is currently heading the largest and most powerful crime organization in Mexico.”
He added: “Guzman is the major supplier of narcotics to Chicago. His agents are working in the Chicago area importing vast quantities of drugs for sale throughout the Chicago region and collecting and sending to Mexico tens of millions of dollars in drug money.”
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