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Mexican Drug Lord 'El Chapo' Recaptured 6 Months After Prison Escape


When the news first broke today, some people thought it might be a hoax. It's not. The Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is in custody again. He escaped six months ago from a maximum-security prison in Mexico. NPR's Carrie Kahn joins us from Mexico City. And Carrie, what do we know so far?

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Well, Mexican Television here has been awash of images of Guzman alive and in custody. He was captured this morning in the city of Los Mochis, which is in his home state of Sinaloa, which is also the name of his cartel, the largest and most powerful in Mexico. He was caught in a very simple motel outside the city. The president gave the news today, tweeting this afternoon mission accomplished. We got him. Chapo's escape last July, if you remember, was a major embarrassment to the president.


KAHN: And today, later in the afternoon, we saw him on TV, was all full of smiles with a full flank of officials around him. And he told Mexicans personally about the capture. And he said repeatedly that his promise to get Guzman was fulfilled, and it proved that the rule of law in Mexico's institutions are solid.

MCEVERS: What is the Mexican government planning to do with El Chapo now? I mean, I would think they're not going to send him back to the same prison that he escaped from before, right?

KAHN: (Laughter). I don't think - it's unclear now what's going to happen.


KAHN: He's been flown out of Sinaloa and presumably to Mexico City here. But, you know, where are they going to put him? Who knows? That's the million-dollar question. He did escape from Mexico's maximum-security prison. And he - they made a spectacular tunnel that went straight out of the cell, stretched a mile long, and exited at a farmhouse. And then he flew away. So there is an extradition order in place from the U.S. But in Mexican law, there are still many, many legal maneuvers Chapo's lawyers can do before he's on a plane to the U.S. And so what they're going to do with him in the meantime and whether they're going to extradite him, that is a great question, and we'll just have to wait and see.

MCEVERS: And quickly, Carrie, I mean, this is the third time he's been captured, right?

KAHN: Yes, it is. It's amazing. He's very slippery. The U.S. is not commenting on extradition, but there is an order in place for him to go to the U.S., so we'll see.

MCEVERS: That's NPR's Carrie Kahn in Mexico City. Thank you very much.

KAHN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Carrie Kahn is NPR's International Correspondent based in Mexico City, Mexico. She covers Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Kahn's reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning news programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and on NPR.org.