World Bulletin/News Desk
Mexico on Friday admitted it had mistakenly claimed to have captured a son of Mexico's most wanted drug lord, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, which the ruling party had hailed as a major victory in its war on cartels.
Mexican marines seized the man on Thursday outside Guadalajara and flew him to Mexico City, where they paraded him in front of the media and identified him as Jesus Alfredo Guzman, alias "El Gordo" or "The Fat One."
The man's lawyer, Veronica Guerrero, told a news conference earlier on Friday her client's real name was Felix Beltran and that he was an innocent car dealer.
The federal attorney general's office said late on Friday the man arrested was indeed Beltran, without giving any further details.
The mix-up is a major embarrassment for the government, which has been heavily criticized for failing to contain the violence and flow of drugs since President Felipe Calderon sent in the military to fight the cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.
Marines said they apprehended the man with an arsenal of rifles, pistols and grenades and about $160,000 in cash.
Javier Oliva, a political scientist from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, said the snafu showed how poor the coordination is between U.S. intelligence agencies as well as their cooperation with Mexican counterparts.
"This is really serious. Nothing like this has ever happened before," he said, wondering how the agencies had gone public on the arrest without making the proper checks. "The main responsibility here lies with the DEA."
Thursday's arrest won praise from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which has sought Jesus Alfredo Guzman since he was indicted for cocaine trafficking in 2009.
His father, the elder Guzman, faces dozens of charges of racketeering and drug smuggling in U.S. courts. There is a $5 million reward for his capture.
The arrest came just over a week before Mexicans vote for a leader to replace Calderon, whom the constitution bars from seeking a second term. Brutal clashes between drug cartels and Mexican authorities have killed more than 55,000 people since Calderon launched his crackdown on the gangs.
"This is confirmation that President Calderon's strategy doesn't work," said Alberto Islas, a security expert at consultancy Risk Evaluation. He said the botched arrest demonstrated the weakness of Mexico's own intelligence apparatus.
The candidate of Calderon's National Action Party, Josefina Vazquez Mota, is running in third place in most polls, partly because of public dissatisfaction over the drug war.
On Thursday, Vazquez Mota congratulated the marines on the arrest, in comments relayed around Mexico.
Enrique Pena Nieto, candidate for the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, has a double-digit lead in most polls heading into the July 1 election.
The Bananama Republic journalist was arrested at Panama airport on November 15
Ford said on Friday it will recall about 680,000 of its Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans to fix a seat belt issue.
Police set up a security perimeter around the Asieland travel agency, which specialises in Asian travel.
Kerry said that diplomatic efforts had made progress, despite his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni disagreeing saying that negotiations "have not yet produced results".
Danish FM says they will withdraw seven F-16s located at Turkey's Incirlik air base from operations in Syria, Iraq
All were shut down on the grounds that they were transmitting from places away from their original locations, RSF said.
A presidential commission on Friday made 16 urgent recommendations to improve the nation's cybersecurity
The award was among six given by the UN agency's executive director Erik Solheim at the world body's conference on biodiversity in Cancun, Mexico.
As the West is badly shaken by Donald Trump's White House win, the Brexit vote and the rise of shrill populism, many see the pragmatic, no-nonsense chancellor as the last voice of reason on a chaotic global stage.
High-ranking Moroccan security officials dismissed for alleged ‘professional breaches’
- 'He's a soldier's soldier. A Marine's Marine', Pentagon official says
Preliminary results in rerun of last year’s vote give Jovenel Moise victory with 58 percent of votes, electoral body says
Telephone call risks stirring tensions with Beijing before Trump takes office
White House says administration doesn't believe bill violates nuclear deal with Iran
"Authorities in the district of Ocuviri have confirmed the death of a minor and 17 injured who are now being assisted by medics," the National Civil Defense Institute (INDECI) said on Twitter after Thursday's quake.
The world’s youngest nation could see a near-repeat of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, warns UN human rights team