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Powerful: Guzman was named one of Forbes magazine's 'most powerful people in the world'
It was betrayal by one of his own that led to the capture of Mexico's richest and most dangerous drug lord Saturday.
Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman was nabbed in a U.S.-backed raid on a resort condo in Mazatlan, after his former bodyguards pointed Mexican officials to the elusive kingpin's compound of seven homes in the Pacific coast town of Culiacan.
However there is no sign of his 24-year-old beauty queen third wife who gave birth to two of his children in 2011.
It also seems Guzman - who is worth an estimated $1billion - was getting tired of living the safe life after 12 years in hiding, and let down his guard to enjoy his wealth in the resort town popular with American tourists.
'My sense in talking with Homeland Security officials and others last night is that we were able to penetrate his circle, get people within the organization to cooperate,' said U.S. Rep Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
McCaul is now calling for Guzman to be extradited to the U.S., to face drug trafficking charges here - arguing that extradition will insure Guzman remains behind bars, since he has twice escaped from Mexican prisons through bribery. That last time Guzman escaped, he was about to be sent to the U.S.
Drug lord: Joaquin 'El Chapa' Guzman is led into a military helicopter following his arrest on Saturday
Most wanted: Guzman is one of the most wanted men in the world and is considered the 'Osama bin Laden of the drug war'
This month the noose started tightening. Federal forces began sweeping through Culiacan, capital of the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa - closing streets, raiding houses, seizing automatic weapons, drugs and money, and arresting a series of men Mexican officials carefully described to reporters as top officials for Zambada
Guzman's downfall began last week when several of his Sinaloa cartel henchmen were arrested by Mexican authorities.
On Febuary 13, a man known as '19,' whom officials called the new chief of assassins for Ismael Zambada, one of Guzman's top henchmen, was arrested with two other men on the highway to the coastal resort city of Mazatlan.
Escape: Guzman escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001 by hiding in a laundry bin. Authorities believe he had inside help
Four days later, a man described as a member of the Sinaloa cartel's upper ranks was seized along with 4,000 hollowed-out cucumbers and bananas stuffed with cocaine.
In the middle of this week, a 43-year-old known by the nickname '20' and described as Zambada's chief of security, was arrested transporting more cocaine-stuffed produce.
By the middle of the week at least 10 Sinaloa henchmen had been seized.
A U.S. law enforcement official said Saturday that at least some were actually security for Guzman, and authorities used them to obtain information that helped lead to the head of the cartel. The official was not authorized to talk to journalists and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Raid: Clothes and toiletries are scattered across a bed where Guzman was found with an unidentified woman
Dawn raid: A pancake left in a frying pan can be seen on the stove of the condominium where Guzman was arrested
Trapped: Marines broke into the seaside home in a complex where apartments are rented for about $1,200 a month
Agents learned that Guzman, 56, had started coming down from his isolated mountain hideouts to enjoy the comforts of Culiacan and Mazatlan, said Michael S. Vigil, a former senior DEA official who was briefed on the operation.
'That was a fatal error,' Vigil said.
Working on the information gleaned from Guzman's bodyguards, Mexican marines swarmed the house of Guzman's ex-wife but struggled to batter down the steel-reinforced door, according to Mexican authorities and former U.S. law-enforcement officials briefed on the operation.
As the marines forced their way in, Guzman fled through a secret door beneath a bathtub down a corrugated steel ladder into a network of tunnels and sewer canals that connect to six other houses in Culiacan, the officials said.
Guzman fled south to Mazatlan. On his heels, a team of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents set up a base of operations with Mexican marines in the city, according to the current U.S. law-enforcement official.
Early Saturday morning, Guzman's reign came to an end without a shot fired. Marines closed the beachside road in front of the Miramar condominiums, a 10-story, pearl-colored building with white balconies overlooking the Pacific and a small pool in front.
Smashing down the door of an austerely decorated fourth-floor condo, they seized the country's most-wanted man at 6:40am, a few minutes after the sun rose.
Got him: Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman was arrested in an early morning raid in the resort town of Mazatlan
A neighbor who declined to identify himself for fear of retaliation said the apartment had only been occupied for two days. An employee of the building's cleaning staff said that clothes were strewn across the floor and bed in the condo, and humble domestic appliances - a microwave, a floor fan, a flat-screen TV on a small table - were left inside.
Photos of the apartment published by a local newspaper showed cheap and unglamorous furnishings. Inside the condo, the photos showed little food or liquor: just a couple of dozen eggs on a shelf. A bag from a low-end supermarket lay on the floor.
Guzman was caught with an unidentified woman, said one official not authorized to be quoted by name, who added that the DEA and U.S. Marshals Service were 'heavily involved' in the capture. Mexican officials said, however, that Guzman was detained along with a man they identified as Carlos Manuel Hoo Ramirez. It's still unclear what role Ramirez may have played in the cartel. Also unaccounted for is Guzman's young wife and former-beauty queen Emma Coronel.
Coronel is either Guzman's third or fourth wife and they were married in 2011 when she was just 18-years-old. She caught his eye after winning the Miss Coffee and Guava beauty contest.
Coronel, who is the daughter of one of Guzman's top deputies, Ines Coronel Barreas, was last seen re-entering Mexico in August 2011.
The then 22-year-old had just given birth to Guzman's twin daughters at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, north of Los Angeles, California.
Because Coronel is both an American and Mexican citizen - she is allowed to travel freely between the two countries.
Where is she: Guzman's wife and former beauty queen Emma Coronel was not accounted for in news of the raid
Mom: Guzman married Coronel when she was just 18-years-old. In August 2011, when she was 22, Coronel gave birth to Guzman's twin daughters in a hospital in Los Angeles
A U.S. law-enforcement official with direct knowledge of the killing of Zambada's main lieutenant in November described it as part of a concerted binational effort to decapitate the Sinaloa cartel. The organization became the focus of U.S. and Mexican attention after a string of arrests and slaying of the heads of other cartels, most notably the seizure of brutal Zetas cartel head Miguel Angel Trevino Morales in July.
Across the border: Coronel returned to Mexico legally after giving birth to her twins
'Who are the only big fish left in the country? We can't just twiddle our thumbs,' said the official who was not authorized to speak to journalists and spoke on condition of anonymity. 'Now we focus on the biggest elephant in the room. It's by virtue of default.'
Guzman's arrest appears certain to all but quash U.S. concerns that Pena Nieto's administration has been reducing cooperation with U.S. law-enforcement, a hallmark of his predecessor Felipe Calderon's six-year term.
'This shows that cooperation is working, and that it's discreet and based on intelligence-gathering,' said Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico's National Autonomous University. 'This is, without a doubt, the most important success of Pena Nieto's administration.'
By early afternoon, Guzman was marched across the tarmac of the Mexican marines' hanger at the Mexico City airport.
The man who eluded Mexican authorities for more than a decade looked pudgy, bowed and middle-aged in a white button-down shirt and beltless black jeans.
After his 2001 escape in a laundry truck from a prison he came to control through bribery, Guzman was rumored to live everywhere from Argentina to Mexico's 'Golden Triangle,' a mountainous, marijuana-growing region straddling the northern states of Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua.
The Sinaloa Cartel grew deadlier and more powerful, taking over much of the lucrative trafficking routes along the U.S. border.
Guzman was hit with multiple federal drug trafficking indictments in the U.S. as his drug empire stretched throughout North America and extended branches into Europe and Australia. Guzman's play for power against local cartels caused a bloodbath in Tijuana and made Ciudad Juarez one of the deadliest cities in the world.
Indictments: Guzman faces federal indictments in the U.S. for drug-trafficking charges
Extradition: It's unclear when - or if - Guzman will be extradited to the U.S., where he faces federal charges over drug trafficking allegations
Paradise: Guzman was arrested at a hotel in the Mexican resort city of Mazatlan, Sinaloa
Number one: Guzman is estimated to be worth more than $1 billion and has been named public enemy number one by multiple law enforcement agencies
In 2013, he was named 'Public Enemy No. 1' by the Chicago Crime Commission, only the second person to get that distinction after U.S. prohibition-era crime boss Al Capone.
He appeared in only a handful of photos during his years on the run, staring straight into the camera of an anonymous photographer and defiantly brandishing an automatic rifle.
On Saturday, as he was walked before the press, his hands were cuffed behind him and a masked marine pushed down his head with a black-gloved hand, as if to make clear that Guzman is now under state control.
Guzman said nothing, and looked subdued as he reappeared before the world for a few seconds before disappearing into the cargo bay of a helicopter waiting to take him to prison.