Mexican authorities came extremely close to capturing the world's most powerful drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, at a coastal mansion in Los Cabos, according to an Associated Press exclusive.
Guzman has a romantic back story buoyed by his infamous escape in a laundry truck from a maximum-security prison in 2001. He was recently named by US authorities as the "world's most powerful drug trafficker," and has a $7 million bounty on his head.
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Mexico's Assistant Attorney General Jose Cuitlahuac Salinas confirmed that authorities came close to Guzman in late February, just after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the town located on the Baja peninsula.
Authorities found and arrested two men and two women in the house, according to Salinas. One of the men is thought to have been a pilot for Guzman. Salinas refused to say whether the United States was involved in the attack.
Outgoing Mexican President Felipe Calderon has had his tenure tarnished by his heavy-handed war on drugs, which has led to the death of more than 47,000 Mexicans since he came to power in December 2006. The capture of Chapo before the end of his presidency would go some way to redeeming his policies.
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His National Action Party (PAN) is unlikely to win July's election, thanks to the drug war, paving the way for the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). However, their candidate is the gaffe-prone Enrique Peña Nieto who — though ahead in the polls — appears to be struggling against the PAN's Josefina Vazquez Mota.
Read more: Mexico election: Vazquez Mota closing the gap