'El Chapo's' capture won't dent drug trade, Fresno professor says

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the world's most wanted drug dealer, is now back in the hands of law enforcement.
February 22, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Joaquin Guzman, nicknamed "El Chapo" and the world's most wanted drug dealer, is now back in the hands of law enforcement.

The 56-year-old had been on the run since bribing his way out of prison 13 years ago.

U.S. and Mexican authorities arrested the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel at a resort in Mazatlan on Saturday morning.

Mexican authorities say it was done with the help of information gathered by U.S. drug and law enforcement officials and the Mexican government. They were able to capture 13 people in the operation including Guzman.

The Sinaloa drug cartel is believed to be responsible for a quarter of the cocaine, marijuana and heroin transported across the U.S.-Mexican border.

Annabella Espana-Najera, assistant professor of Chicano and Latin American Studies at Fresno State, says she doesn't believe Guzman's capture will make a dent in disrupting the drug trade.

"The drug trafficking depends on markets," she said. "As long as there's a demand for it, someone is going to meet that demand. If it's not the Sinaloa drug cartel, it's going to be another cartel."

California law enforcement agencies have tied illegal drugs found in the state to cartels in Mexico. In 2009, then-Attorney General Jerry Brown executed an operation that lead to the capture of several people linked with the drug trade.

It's reported the cartel put on a hit on Brown shortly after that.

Espanan-Najera says Guzman's arrest should showcase American and Mexican cooperation, but she warns that just because he is behind bars, doesn't mean his reign over the cartel is over.

"The one thing to remember is the fact that, often times, a lot of these organizations are run from the prisons, so just because he is in prison doesn't mean's no longer irrelevant," Espana-Najera said.

A former senior DEA official, who was briefed on the operation, says that Guzman may be extradited to the U.S. because he says, "it would be a massive black eye on the Mexican government if he escaped from prison a second time."

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