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Mexico admits captured Sinaloa cartel 'drug lord' is car salesman

Mexican officials have admitted that they got the wrong guy when they claimed to have arrested the son of their most wanted drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

Joaquin el chapo guzman loeraEnlarge
This July 10, 1993 file photo shows Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera at La Palma prison in Almoloya of Juarez, Mexico. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Authorities in Mexico have admitted that they got the wrong guy when they claimed to have arrested the son of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, head of the Sinaloa cartel and the country's most wanted drugs lord.

Mexican marines captured the man they believed to be Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar, aka "El Gordo," in the center of the country on Thursday.

A day later, Reuters reported, the government was forced to admit that the person it was holding was in fact Felix Beltran, a car salesman who is not suspected of committing any crime.

The federal attorney general's office has confirmed his identity but not yet given any explanation for the mix-up, which Reuters described as a "major embarrassment" for the government.

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Officials had "paraded" the suspect in front of the media, the BBC said, touting his arrest as a significant victory in President Felipe Calderon's war on drugs.

But doubts soon began to be raised, with first a lawyer for the Guzman family and then Beltran's mother denying the suspect was who the government said he was.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration was credited with providing the intelligence that led to Thursday's raid, and had applauded the arrest, the Washington Post reported.

Guzman senior was recently named by US authorities as the "world's most powerful drug trafficker" and has a $7-million bounty on his head, according to GlobalPost's Girish Gupta

His son's capture would have been a major coup for the ruling PAN party, just days before Mexico holds its presidential election.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/mexico/120623/felix-beltran-el-chapo-el-gordo-guzman-arrest-sinaloa-drug-lord