Hollywood dream led to capture of Mexico's drug lord 'El Chapo'

Drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was recaptured by Mexican authorities yesterday. Credit: REUTERS/Henry Romero

Mexico’s government aims to fulfill a request from the United States to extradite the newly-recaptured drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to face drug trafficking charges, sources told Reuters.

The Mexican Attorney General's office will be working as fast as possible to establish the path to extradition, and Guzman could be extradited by mid-year, one source said.

However, the timing will likely depend on any injunctions filed by Guzman's lawyers.

It has also emerged that after his Hollywood-worthy jailbreak in 2015, it was the kingpin’s dream for stardom that contributed to his capture on Friday.

Mexico's Attorney General Arely Gomez said: "He contacted actresses and producers, which was part of one line of investigation."

Once featured in the Forbes list of billionaires, the notorious drug lord was recaptured on Friday after a gun battle at the house where he had been hiding. Officials said Guzman fled the raid via a drain, but was caught when he tried to escape in a vehicle.

"El Chapo" once featured in the Forbes list of billionaires. Credit: PA

"El Chapo", which means “shorty”, is a larger-than-life figure in Mexico's national imagination and an anti-hero in his hometown.

The United States requested Guzman’s extradition in late June last year. A couple weeks later the drug kingpin drove out of prison on a motorbike from a specially-constructed tunnel leading into his cell.

It was the second time Guzman had managed to escape from jail, and a huge embarrassment for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s government.

His first jailbreak in 2001 had been a more simple affair in which the criminal simply bribed his way out of prison.

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto with Mexico's Attorney General Arely Gomez after Guzman's capture yesterday. Credit: Reuters

Guzman, boss of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, is wanted by US authorities on a host of criminal charges. His organization has smuggled billions of dollars worth of drugs into the US and is blamed for thousands of deaths due to addiction and gang violence.

Sending Guzman to the United States would help allay fears the drug lord could use his massive fortune to bribe prison officials and escape from a Mexican maximum security jail yet again.

The mask of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman in a marketplace in Mexico City, Mexico. Credit: PA