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Notorious drug lord 'El Chapo' has been recaptured after shootout: Mexican president

The world's most wanted drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, has been recaptured by Mexican security forces after a fierce pre-dawn gun battle in a western city that left five people dead, authorities said.

Guzman, the world's most famous drug boss and head of the Sinaloa cartel, escaped from his cell in July through a specially dug tunnel, a staggering blow for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who had been building a strong reputation for arresting top drug bosses from all the major cartels.

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Mexico 'proud' of those who captured 'El Chapo'

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto praises the law enforcement officials who found and arrested the world's most wanted drug-lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

"Mission accomplished: we have him," Mr Pena Nieto wrote on Twitter.

Guzman was apprehended after a shootout with Mexican marines in the city of Los Mochis, in Guzman's home state of Sinaloa.

Shortly before Mr Pena Nieto's announcement, Mexico's Navy released details about an early-morning raid in Los Mochis on Friday that left five suspects dead and one marine wounded. Six people were arrested following the clash, but the navy didn't say whether Guzman was among them.

The military raided the home after receiving a tip and encountered gunfire from those inside, according to the navy. The military seized two armoured vehicles, eight long guns and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher with two charges.

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A suspected Sinaloa regional commander is thought to have escaped the compound during the clash, according to the navy.

Before his escape, Guzman had been incarcerated in the Altiplano, a federal facility set amid farmland west of the capital that holds the top captured drug bosses and has been described as the country's most impenetrable prison.

His July escape - the second time he'd slipped out of prison in his drug-running career - was a spectacular and embarrassing breach of security that set off a massive manhunt.

Guzman slipped out of the prison through a rectangular opening in the shower area of his cell that led to a kilometre-long tunnel running out of the prison, underneath corn fields and cow pastures and ending at a small cinder-block house decorated with Christmas lights that residents say was built after Guzman's imprisonment.

Before his escape, American officials had pressed for Guzman's extradition so that he could be prosecuted for drug crimes and held in a more secure facility.

But the Pena Nieto administration refused to grant his extradition to the United States, insisting that it would prosecute Guzman at home, as a showcase of Mexican judicial independence.

"This represents, without a doubt, an affront to the Mexican state," Mr Pena Nieto said in July, after Guzman's escape.

On Friday, the US Drug Enforcement Administration congratulated Mexican officials for recapturing Guzman.

Though many of Mexico's most notorious and dangerous drug bosses have been held at Altiplano, none escaped until July.

The manner of Guzman's prison break - through a tunnel nearly a mile long, on a motorcycle mounted on rails - suggested that his rescue operation was well planned and well financed.

In February 2014, Guzman was captured by a team of Mexican commandos while he was sleeping in the Miramar condominium in the beach town of Mazatlan. The arrest came after a series of military operations that relied heavily on intelligence gathered by US law enforcement officials and that led to houses with their own elaborate tunnel network in the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa, used by Guzman for years to evade capture.

While he was in prison, reports emerged that Guzman had helped organise a hunger strike to protest living conditions. Those with access inside noticed some small perks; for example, while others were forced to shave, he could keep his moustache. Several days before the prison escape, Guzman's son, Ivan, tweeted: "Everything comes to those who know how to wait."

The Washington Post

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