The Diario de Chihuaha reports that Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera, Mexico's most-wanted man and the subject of my book, The Last Narco, narrowly escaped the army's net the other day.
Apparently, Chapo was the primary target of a raid that led to the capture of Enrique Lopez Acosta, aka El Cumbias, in the Chihuahua town of Delicias. El Cumbias was allegedly responsible for a horrendous massacre in Creel earlier this year; he allegedly worked for Chapo in the area, as a leader of la Gente Nueva, one of Chapo's sicario groups.
The Austin-based private intelligence firm, Stratfor, cites the Diario de Chihuahua in a new security briefing; the state prosecutor and governor of Chihuahua, meanwhile, have denied the report of Chapo being anywhere near their state.
A few things spring to my mind here: first off, it's hard to know whether Chapo was indeed there. El Diario de Chihuahua cites off the record military sources in its piece; it's a pretty decent paper most of the time so I believe its sourcing. Whether or not the source actually knows anything is another matter altogether. Time and time again the leaks in Mexico about captures etc turn out to be sources misleading the reporters or the reporter desperately trying to make a story out of nothing.
Second, what would Chapo be doing in Delicias? The town is pretty far from his strongholds in Durango and Sinaloa (link to map in title of post); I find it unlikely that he'd be roaming around in central Chihuahua, even if the state is rapidly becoming his, thanks to la Gente Nueva's successes against the Juarez cartel. That said, if he's becoming more confident that his people are in charge, and that the authorities' efforts to catch him are failing, then maybe, just maybe, he was there to check up on operations. It wouldn't be the first time he's reportedly visited plantations and the like in Chihuahua – who knows, maybe he's back in leadership mode.
Or maybe Chapo was simply indulging in one of his culinary excursions? Reports of Chapo entering a restaurant to have a meal (and pay for fellow diners in return for their silence) have abounded since 2005; he's said to have stopped in for a meal at restaurants in Culiacan, Nuevo Laredo, Mexicali, Guadalajara and a few other places. Delicias, I've been told, has the best burritos in Mexico; maybe Chapo made the trip for one of those. And maybe, as he said when he was in prison, he's "just a farmer."