Mexican security forces descended on a region in the country’s northwest in October as part of a new phase in the search for fugitive Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
And now there are disturbing new details about that intensifying manhunt.
Guzmán remains free, but a recent report from Vice News details allegations that, in their fierce pursuit of the drug lord, Mexican marines attacked the homes of ranchers in a mountainous and rugged region of Durango state.
“It all happened on October 6,” Gonzalo Peña, a farmer in Tamazula in Durango state, told Vice News. “A little before 8 a.m., we heard the choppers … They arrived shooting, I heard the shots from the choppers.”
“And suddenly they disappeared, and then a plane showed up before me,”Peña told Vice News. “I thought it was going to land, or just circle around. But no. It arrived shooting.”
“I worried about getting killed right there,” he said.
After escaping on July 11, he flew northwest to a ranch in the remote, mountainous area of southwestern Durango state, near the border with Sinaloa.
Many, including a top official with the US Drug Enforcement Administration, suspected that Guzmán returned to Sinaloa after his escape. After Mexican authorities detected efforts to return the drug lord’s daughters’ pet monkey, Boots, to Durango, the manhunt was shifted to the region — a stronghold for the Sinaloa cartel nicknamed the Golden Triangle for its drug production.
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