“El Chapo” Guzman, one of the most wanted men on the planet since his Hollywood-esque prison escape in July, has reportedly been spotted. Not once, but twice.
The Sinaloa cartel chief is widely considered to be the most powerful drug trafficker in the world and is estimated to be worth over $1billion. El Chapo was first arrested in 1991 before escaping in 2001 and kick-starting one of the largest manhunts in Mexico’s history.
The kingpin remained on the run for 13 years before he was caught again in 2014, only to escape again in July this year. The elaborate ploy (we reported on here) saw El Chapo dodging extensive CCTV to escape the maximum security Altiplano Federal Prison via a customised motorbike on an underground rail system.
Since then Chapo has managed to stay one step ahead of the authorities... until he was spotted on Twitter, in a photo posted by none other than his own son.
Alfredo Guzman, 29-year-old son of the fugitive tweeted the below picture of himself sat between two older men obscured by emoticons on August 31. A moustachioed figure bearing a striking resemblance to El Chapo can be seen sitting to the right of his son.
The caption of which translates: “August here, you already know with whom”.
Tellingly the Tweet has been geotagged with the location Costa Rica and has since been retweeted almost two thousand times. It's prompted an investigation from the Costa Rican authorities, although many have placed doubt on the fact that it was actually sent from the location, or taken at that time.
A mere two days after the image went viral the criminal was spotted once again, this time in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco, an area known as a hotbed for drug trafficking, where a man who reportedly looked similar to Chapo was injured in a car accident before being taken to hospital.
The man later fled before police could arrive, adding to speculation that he may very well have been the druglord.
According to local newspaper Tabasco Hoy:
“An accident caused on the Macuspana-Villahermosa federal highway left one injured person, allegedly with the characteristics of Arhivaldo Guzman Loera [El Chapo’s full name]
“… A detachment of military personnel in Ciudad Pemex mobilized immediately and arrived at the regional hospital where the inured person supposedly was. However, minutes before the troops arrived, the subject asked to be discharged and left the site.”
Experts now say that it’s possible the Guzman could have travelled the distance from Costa Rica to Tabasco in the intervening two days. It could have proven to be a risky move however, as the Tabasco region falls outside of the Sinaloa cartel’s territory, though it’s not unliklely that the group has expanded or cut deals with rival cartels operating in the area. Further speculation hints that the car crash itself could have involved clashes between rival gangs.
El Chapo has been known in the past to operate in Central America on occasions to operate his vast drug trafficking empire. It’s estimated that he controls of over a third of the cocaine trade in Mexico. At present authorities would appear to be dumbfounded by his location, and if previous years on the run are anything to go by, it's likely that the situation will remain just as foggy for months to come.