Most wanted drug lord held in hotel room used for sex

Most wanted drug lord held in hotel room used for sex
'El Chapo' was held in a room that was used for sex, said a staff member at Hotel Doux.
PHOTO: Reuters

Los Mochis, Mexico - The white house where Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman hid is in a ritzy part of a Mexican seaside city, whose neighbours were stunned to learn the fugitive drug lord briefly lived next door.

Lush trees serve as natural curtains to conceal what went on inside the two-story home in Los Mochis, a relatively peaceful city in Guzman's northwestern and violence-plagued home state of Sinaloa.

"It's hard for me to believe that a wanted person like him was in a place like this, a city so calm," said a neighbour who requested anonymity as a dozen soldiers and two navy vehicles guarded the house.

Residents said the area is so safe that children play in the street at night and te governor's mother lives in the same district.

But the quiet street was rocked by a fierce gun battle early Friday morning when marines descended on the house, killing five suspects and seizing a dozen weapons, including a rocket-grenade launcher.

"We could see everything from here. When we had the courage, we looked out the window and saw the soldiers on the ground firing at the garage door until they opened it," said another neighbour.

A 53--year-old shopkeeper said that a doctor used to live at the house.

"You couldn't see anything. There was no movement," the woman said.

On Friday, the marines prevented her and other neighbours from leaving their houses.

"How did I feel when I learned that they caught "El Chapo" and that he was hiding there? Nothing, but my legs were shaking from fear," she said.

During the shootout, Guzman did what he does best, escaping through the city's storm drain system with his security chief, Jorge Ivan Gastelum, but the marines pursued them. He used a same escape route in the city of Culiacan in 2014, before his previous capture.

The pair came out of a manhole and stole a car before they were intercepted on a street of the palm tree-line city of 125,000 people.

Witnesses said Guzman and his associate emerged one kilometer from the house. AFP reporters saw an assault rifle at the bottom of a manhole at the site.

Guzman's capture capped a massive manhunt that started when he snuck out of the Altiplano maximum-security prison near Mexico City through a 1.5-kilometer (one-mile) tunnel that humiliated President Enrique Pena Nieto's administration.

After his capture, marines took Guzman to the Hotel Doux, which became an attraction on Saturday as passersby came to take pictures in front of it.

A hotel employee said some rooms are decorated with posters of women in sexy poses, just like the one seen in a photo of Guzman handcuffed while sitting on a bed, wearing a sleeveless shirt dirty from his underground escape.

"When the soldiers arrived, we knew they had a detainee but we didn't know who it was," said another employee.

Guzman was held in suite number 51 of a part of the hotel where people rent rooms "for sex," the staffer said.

Suite 51 costs 300 pesos ($17) per night and is at the end of a long hallway.

Guzman was then flown to Mexico City and taken back to the prison he escaped from six months ago.

But authorities won't risk losing him again, as prosecutors announced Saturday that they would pursue his extradition to the United States.



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