The world’s most dangerous fugitive was not killed in a jungle shootout last week, according to the Guatemalan interior minister.
Mauricio Lopez blamed a ‘misunderstanding’ for earlier reports suggesting El Chapo, the world’s most powerful drugs baron, had been killed by a rival Mexican gang in an isolated jungle clearing near the Guatemalan border with Mexico last Thursday.
El Chapo, whose real name is Joaquin Guzman, is believed to preside over the notorious Sinaloa cartel, which is said to rake in billions of dollars in drugs money every year.
The confusion over El Chapo’s ‘death’ appears to have been caused when villagers in the Peten province discovered a blood-soaked body that apparently resembled the drug lord after the shootout.
The Guatemalan government apparently announced Guzman’s death based on these local eyewitness accounts.
But now, following a full investigation by police and soldiers, it is believed there is nothing to suggest El Chapo was even involved in the shootout, let alone killed, and the bloodied corpse of the apparent lookalike cannot be found either.
Speaking to local radio station Emisores Bonilla, Mauricio Lopez apologised for the false announcement, calling it a “mix-up”.
He added: “We were referring to information generated from the area that there was possibly a crime scene with a dead person resembling El Chapo…As of now, we have no verification.”
El Chapo has had a $7million bounty on his head since he escaped from a Mexican prison in the back of a laundry cart in 2001.
Earlier this month, Chicago’s crime commission officially named El Chapo as the city’s Public Enemy Number One – a title not used since the days of mafia boss Al Capone.
Last year he was named the world's most influential drugs trafficker by the US Treasury Department.