El Chapo arrest: Mexico releases video showing gunfire in pre-dawn raid

A short, shaky video which appears to show special forces caught in gun battles as they move through a house in search of escaped drug lord Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman has been released by authorities in Mexico.

WARNING: This story contains graphic video footage

Mexican government releases body cam video of El Chapo search raid 2:59

A short, shaky video which appears to show Mexican marines caught in gun battles as they move through a house in search of escaped drug lord Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman has been released by authorities in Mexico.

The edited video, reportedly captured by marines during Friday's early morning raid on a house in Los Mochis, was aired by Mexican news organization Televisa. The footage captures a heavily armed team moving into the building and sweeping rooms in search of Guzman, who escaped from a Mexican prison months ago.

Guzman wasn't captured in the home — he escaped and was nabbed by federal police on a highway.

Walk-in closet led to tunnel

More details have merged on how Guzman initially gave Mexican security forces the slip as they closed in.

A security official on Monday said the drug kingpin took advantage of a secret doorway hidden behind a mirror in his walk-in bedroom closet and descended into a tunnel about 30 metres long that connected to the drains of Los Mochis.

Guzman spent hours below ground as his henchmen lured pursuing marines into a chase onto the roof of the house and into neighbouring properties, where four of them were shot dead. Another was killed inside the house, officials said.

A view of a door connecting to a tunnel, used by Joaquin Guzman to escape before being recaptured, is pictured in Los Mochis in Mexico's Sinaloa state. (Edgard Garrido/Reuters )

Finally discovering the hidden tunnel, some marines tried to follow Guzman into the drains, but could not find him, a security official said.

As rain started to fill the drains, Guzman eventually emerged from a manhole by a gas station about 1.6 kilometres across town and stole a car at gunpoint.

It took the Marines 90 minutes to find the tunnel entrance, giving Guzman a crucial head start.

'My holidays are over'

Marines found another hole beneath a refrigerator which proved to be a red herring, the apparent beginnings of a project to build another escape route.

They also found two women cowering in one of the home's five bathrooms.

"My holidays are over," Guzman said when he was finally caught, Televisa reported.

Extradition could take years

Mexico has already started the process of extraditing Guzman to the United States, two days after the famed fugitive was recaptured following a dramatic, months-long hunt featuring movie stars, sewer escapes and bloody shootouts.

A journalist films inside a tunnel below Guzman's hideout and connected to the city drains of Los Mochis. (Edgard Garrido/Reuters )

Officials warned that the process could take a long time as Guzman's lawyers file legal appeals and maneuver to keep their client in Mexico, where he has already escaped from maximum security prisons twice.

Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez has said extraditing the drug kingpin could take up to five years.

On Sunday, agents formally notified Guzman that he was wanted in the United States. In a statement, the Attorney General's Office said Mexican agents assigned to the international police agency Interpol served two arrest warrants to the drug lord, who is being held at the Altiplano prison following his capture by Mexican marines on Friday.

Guzman's defence now has three days to present arguments against extradition and 20 days to present supporting evidence, beyond the plethora of other appeals they have already started filing.

Guzman's powerful Sinaloa cartel smuggles multi-ton shipments of cocaine and marijuana as well as manufacturing and transporting methamphetamines and heroin, mostly to the U.S. He is wanted in various U.S. states and his July escape deeply embarrassed the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto and strained ties between the countries.

Guzman's attorney Juan Pablo Badillo has said the defence has already filed six motions to challenge extradition requests.

Badillo said that his client shouldn't be extradited to the U.S. because "our country must respect national sovereignty, the sovereignty of its institutions to impart justice."

Mexico's about-turn

On Saturday, a Mexican federal law enforcement official said the quickest Guzman could be extradited would be six months, but even that is not likely because of the many appeals filed by his lawyers. He said that the appeals are usually turned down, but each one means a judge has to schedule a hearing.

"That can take weeks or months, and that delays the extradition," he said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment. "We've had cases that take six years."

Mexico's willingness to extradite Guzman is a sharp turnaround from the last time he was captured in 2014, when then-Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said the extradition would happen only after he finished his sentence in Mexico in "300 or 400 years."

Guzman was re-apprehended on Friday after a shootout between gunmen and Mexican marines at the home in Los Mochis, a seaside city in Guzman's home state of Sinaloa. Five suspects were killed and six others arrested. One marine was injured.

Mexican authorities say actor Sean Penn's contacts with Guzman helped them track the fugitive down — even if he slipped away from an initial raid on the hideout where the Hollywood actor apparently met him.

Penn's article on Guzman was published late Saturday by Rolling Stone magazine, a day after the drug lord's recapture. In it, Penn wrote of elaborate security precautions, but also said that as he flew to Mexico on Oct 2 for the meeting, "I see no spying eyes, but I assume they are there."

He was apparently right.

Did meeting speed capture?

A Mexican federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press the Penn interview led authorities to Guzman in the area of Tamazula, a rural part of Durango state.

They raided Guzman's remote hideout a few days after the interview and narrowly missed capturing Guzman, whose July escape from Mexico's top security prison made his capture a national priority.

Describing the capture, the country's attorney general said investigators were aided in locating Guzman by documented contacts between his lawyers and "actors and producers" that were interested in making a film about him.

Two months after that close call, marines finally caught him in a residential neighbourhood of Los Mochis, where they'd been monitoring a suspected safe house. Guzman was able to escape via storm drains and exited a manhole in the street. But he was captured in a vehicle on the highway.

Penn wrote that Guzman was interested in having a movie filmed on his life and wanted Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, who had portrayed a drug trafficker in a television series, involved in the project.

"He was interested in seeing the story of his life told on film, but would entrust its telling only to Kate," wrote Penn, who appears in a photo posted with the interview shaking hands with Guzman.

Penn's representatives have not commented on the claims by Mexican officials.

With files from Reuters and CBC News


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