Will the Real El Chapo Please Stand Up?
Joaqim “El Chapo” Guzman, the notorious and deadly leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, was captured in late February at a hotel in Mazatlan in a joint operation conducted by U.S. and Mexican authorities and is now awaiting his trial that will take place in either Mexico or the U.S. Or is he?
The Latin Times reports that the man in custody is not El Chapo but an imposter – not quite 3D printer quality but close enough for the government work of fooling the public and bringing fame and glory to the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, who could use some good publicity in his war on keeping his voters from getting killed by cartels before they can re-elect him.
The report compares 10-year-old photographs of Guzman with those of the captured man and points to differences in the shapes of their jaws, ears and noses as well as the curly hair now on the head of El Chapo. While every CSI fan knows that blurred images aren’t the same as DNA evidence, they certainly generate questions among people who have seen Guzman escape from prison in 2001 and avoid capture until now due to another pretty strong theory that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency looked the other way in return for leads on other cartels.
More media-oriented conspiracy theories speculate that Mexican police were timing El Chapo’s capture for when El Presidente Barack Obama was in their country. This resembles a previous theory that he would be captured in 2012 in Baja California while Hillary Clinton was visiting there. Then there’s that timely TIME magazine cover article and photo of President Nieto with the caption “Saving Mexico” which some believe TIME was bribed to run.
If the man in prison is not Guzman, where is the real El Chapo? And will the imposter beat out Emilio Estevez for the lead in the inevitable bio film?