March 2, 2014 |
MEXICO CITY - With the arrest of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the leadership of Mexico's largest and most sophisticated illegal drug operation has probably transferred to Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, a 66-year-old former farmer with a knack for business - and maintaining a low profile. But Zambada is likely to discover, much as Guzman did, that inheriting the throne of top capo comes with a series of complications worthy of a Shakespearean king. Like his predecessor, Zambada is a country boy made good who hails from the badlands of Sinaloa, the traditional heart of Mexican drug-smuggling culture.
February 24, 2014 |
BADIRAGUATO, Mexico - Now that the Mexican government has nabbed the country's most-wanted drug lord, Fernando Antonio Robles is worried about the future. Robles is a 16-year-old bricklayer's apprentice in the wild drug-producing municipality where Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman grew up. In this hardscrabble patch of mountainous Sinaloa state, more than 74% of the people live in poverty. And yet the tiny county seat is full of fine new, freshly painted houses. Robles knows that many of them were built by El Chapo's men. "A lot of people are going to be unemployed," Robles said while loitering with a friend on the handsome town square, "because a lot of people worked for him. " The arrest of Guzman on Saturday in the resort city of Mazatlan, a few hours' drive and a world away from Badiraguato, was greeted with delight by the Mexican government.
February 23, 2014 |
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, one of the world's biggest drug traffickers and Mexico's most-wanted fugitive, was captured Saturday in a joint U.S.-Mexican operation after more than a decade on the run, officials of both countries announced. Guzman was arrested by agents who burst into the seaside condominium in the Sinaloa resort of Mazatlan where he had moved just two days earlier. His capture was a huge symbolic blow to Mexican drug trafficking, a world in which he had reached folk hero status, and an important victory for the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto.
February 22, 2014 |
MEXICO CITY -- From his naming on the Forbes magazine list of the world's richest billionaires, to his frequent supposed sightings and magical escapes, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been a larger-than-life drug lord who reached mythical proportions in Mexican “narco” folklore. He rose from a simple low-level trafficker from Sinaloa, the cradle of Mexico's opium and marijuana trade, to become the nation's most powerful and elusive fugitive. For Mexicans, the capture of Guzman, reported Saturday to have occurred in a joint operation by Mexican marines and U.S. federal agents in the Sinaloan coastal city of Mazatlan, is somewhat akin to Colombia's killing of Pablo Escobar -- or even the U.S. elimination of Osama bin Laden.
February 16, 2014 |
CHILPANCINGO, Mexico - On a cool evening in February, Pioquinto Damian, the head of the Chamber of Commerce here in Guerrero's capital city, was locked away in his downtown apartment, afraid to step outside. He was convinced that the mayor had tried to kill him in an ambush just a few days before. In response, the governor had assigned him 18 heavily armed police officers as bodyguards. A few miles outside town, hundreds of members of autodefensas - vigilante "self-defense" militias composed largely of fed-up farmworkers - were patrolling the streets of semirural suburbs with ancient rifles and shotguns, hoping to rid them of the drug cartel thugs who had terrorized them for years.
February 13, 2014 |
One of the unfortunate echoes of "Breaking Bad" - other than real-life-teachers-turned-meth-cooks - is the proliferation of the principled drug dealer as a character trope. It's certainly possible to make an intelligent film about a coke-peddling antihero, but writer-director Zak Forsman's "Down and Dangerous" merely exploits its cops-versus-cartels backdrop to preen its world-weary scofflaw protagonist, Paul (John T. Woods). Unambitious to the core, "Down and Dangerous" is the perfect flu movie: It's so predictable in its beats and pedestrian in its execution that a viewer can slip in and out of consciousness, confident she won't miss much and will know exactly where in the story she is when she awakes.