Jun 23, 2012

Oops! DEA and Mexican Authorities Admit Man Arrested is Not "Little Chapo"

On June 22 we posted a story that was all over the news in Mexican and U.S. sources, regarding the Mexican Navy's triumphant claim to have captured the son of "Most Wanted" drug kingpin, Joaquin Guzman "El Chapo". The announcement stated that the alleged son named Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar-- a wanted criminal in his own right--was nabbed thanks to U.S. intelligence in a wealthy neighborhood in Guadalajara.

Turns out it the announcement was wrong. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) came out with the announcement, forcing the Mexican government to eat its words--an act that causes severe indigestion, especially eating words right before elections--in this statement from the Federal Attorney General's Office:

“The past June 21 elements of the Ministry of the Navy presented two persons, one of which they considered could be Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar (…) after carrying out the necessary tests for identity, we have determined that the individuals presented are Félix Beltrán León and Kevin Daniel Beltrán Ríos,  23 and 19 years of age, respectively.”

Representatives from both governments did some very public back patting before having to own up to the error. Rusty Payne of the DEA called the capture "a victory in the battle against drug traffickers throughout the world" and congratulated the Mexican government.

The Mexican and U.S. governments have been looking for a way to bolster the shared drug war before the presidential elections July 1. President Felipe Calderon's party runs a distant third in the polls, partly due to the political cost of the war on drugs that has sparked widespread violence that has taken the lives of more than 50,000 people in the country, with tens of thousands more disappeared. The bust of the son of El Chapo was just the break they could use to tell a skeptical public that the governments are making headway in the war on organized crime. When it became known it was false, skepticism deepened.

The families of the two young men detained are demanding justice, stating that they fear their sons are the victims of a media stunt by the Federal Government. The governments, incredibly, after admitting their mistake still insist that the arrest of the two young men is a serious blow to organized crime--indicating that the families' contentions that their sons are being railroaded have some merit in the presumption of guilt.

The mainstream media is trying to spin its way out of the confusion sowed by the false claims. This McClatchy article reports on the mistake and then bends over backwards to assert out of nowhere,
While the latest arrest remained a puzzle, it’s clear that U.S. and Mexican authorities are tightening a noose around Guzman and his family.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/06/21/3671620/doubts-arise-over-arrest-of-mexico.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/06/21/3671620/doubts-arise-over-arrest-of-mexico.html#storylink=cpy
The only proof offered for this supposedly "clear" factoid, is that arrest orders have been issued for Guzman's other sons and that El Chapo was "nearly captured" in Los Cabos last February. As we reported here, the near capture (he apparently escaped through the basement door of a private residence) looked more like another case of El Chapo thumbing his nose (or winking his eye) at authorities, since it took place in Los Cabos when the entire area was heavily militarized due the visit of Hillary Clinton and other foreign ministers for a run-up meeting to the G20 summit.

The case of mistaken identity just weeks before the presidential elections made "Confirma la DEA" (the DEA confirms) the instant favorite hashtag among Mexican tweeters. A sample of the hundreds of tweets under tag include:  "The DEA confirms... El Chapo is laughing his head off at 'government intelligence'", "The DEA confirms... El Chapo has almost as many illegitimate children as Peña Nieto" , "The DEA confirms... the Mexican authorities are idiots",  "The DEA confirms... I am REALLY hungry", etc.
Laura Carlsen

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