At least one of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's sons is believed to be among a group of six people kidnapped from Puerto Vallarta, in the western Mexican state of Jalisco on Monday, authorities say.
Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar, 29, was among the Sinaloa Cartel members seized by rival gang the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
Family members believe El Chapo's eldest son, Ivan Archivaldo, was also grabbed, reports Mexican news outlet Por Esto. However, Jalisco attorney general Eduardo Almaguer said it has not been possible to confirm this.
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Authorities suspect the kidnapping was carried out by the "upstart Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) – once El Chapo's allies," The Guardian says, and could mark "a major shift in the structure of the underworld, as rivals squabble over a leaderless criminal empire reputedly responsible for smuggling tons of cocaine, marijuana and heroin".
El Chapo, the former head of the Sinaloa Cartel, is currently being held in prison in Ciudad Juarez, awaiting extradition to the US on drug charges.
El Chapo: captured drug kingpin facing extradition to US
11 January 2016
After six months on the run, Joaquin Guzman, the crime lord known as El Chapo, faces extradition to the US.
Guzman was recaptured after a gun battle in Los Mochis, Mexico, on Friday, having escaped from the maximum security Altiplano prison, near Mexico City, in July. He has now been served with two arrest warrants from the US.
Although Mexico and the US have an extradition treaty, proceedings can be drawn out and it is expected that Guzman’s lawyers will attempt to block his deportation by any means possible.
Guzman, 58, is the head of a cartel believed to be responsible for half of all the drugs smuggled into the US from Mexico. He was named "Public Enemy No 1" by the Chicago Crime Commission in 2013, the BBC reports.
Law enforcement officers had received a helping hand from an unusual source in their search for the crime lord – film star Sean Penn, who was allowed access to one of Guzman's remote mountain hideouts in October to conduct an interview for Rolling Stone magazine.
During the seven-hour interview, Guzman, who is allegedly responsible for more than 30,000 deaths, boasted that he was in talks with movie producers to film his life story. This detail opened several new leads for Mexican authorities, who said they were able to track down producers and actors who had spoken with him.
After spotting Guzman at a hotel in the seaside town of Los Mochis, marines stormed the property, killing five of his henchmen. Guzman, an adept tunnel-builder who previously went on the run for 13 years, managed to give police the slip one final time, escaping through a storm drain, but was caught attempting to flee in a stolen car.
Penn was apparently unaware of his role in locating Guzman, although at one point in the interview he voiced suspicions that his movements were being tracked. Mexican authorities are now said to be investigating both Penn and Kate del Castillo, the Mexican actress who allegedly set up the meeting.
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