Mexico City – Mexican Marines are nipping at the heels of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s – or at least that’s what the minister overseeing the Marines believes.
Since Oct. 6, thousands of soldiers have been sent to the area known as Mexico’s “Golden Triangle,” the remote, mountainous region where the states of Chihuahua, Durango and Sinaloa converge.
Most of them parachuted in.
The operation was reportedly triggered by information provided to Mexican authorities by U.S. drug agents who were monitoring cell phone activity.
Around 200 people from the region, presumably scared of getting caught in the crossfire between the Marines and the Sinaloa Cartel’s sicarios, have fled to the town of Cosalá.
“The Marines told us that they want to capture the Lord,” they told reporters, and mentioned talking about soldiers attacking civilians.
“People are frightened,” Cosalá’s representative in the state legislature, Lucero Sánchez López, told TV reporters, adding that at least eight people were missing.
The most interesting fact about Sánchez is that she has been identified by the Mexican press and the Attorney General’s office, as Chapo’s newest lover and the mother of his youngest child, an allegation she has consistently denied.
For its part, SEMAR says there haven't been any civilian attacks, but it doesn't deny that the Marines are carrying out an operation in that sector of Sinaloa and across the state line in Durango – a state that’s governed by Ricardo Ochoa, whose sister, Emma Coronel, happens to be Chapo’s current wife.
The presumed romantic relationship between the 57-year-old Guzmán – the world’s most wanted drug kingpin – and a 26-year-old, thick-lipped and light-haired member of the National Action Party (PAN) – has spread ever since June, when it was first reported that she visited Chapo in Altiplano prison, some 55 miles from Mexico City, in May when she was pregnant.
At the time, authorities at the prison lodged a complaint with PGR saying that Chapo received a visit from a woman who used a fake ID who was not his wife. For her part, Sánchez says that the woman photographed with the drug lord isn't her.
The newspaper Excélsior, suggested that Sánchez first met Chapo in 2013, at a party in the Golden Triangle that both attended. A few months later, her former husband and the father of her two sons, Rubén Chavez, 27, was shot to death.
A few days after Chapo’s second escape from a Mexican high-security prison in July, the Attorney General’s office (PGR in its Spanish acronym) leaked to the media a statement by one of Guzmán Loera’s attorneys confirming that Sánchez visited his client to discuss details of where and how their child would be raised.
A veteran columnist from El Universal newspaper, Ricardo Alemán, wrote, “Very little is known for a fact about Chapo’s children … What we do know is that Chapo’s youngest kid is the son of Lucero Guadalupe Sánchez López, presently a deputy in the Sinaloa Congress from the 16th district of Cosalá.”
He added, “It is also known that Mrs. Sánchez became deputy in the state congress by virtue of Chapo’s influence in Cosalá.”
Sánchez continues to deny having a relationship with Chapo. At a session of the Sinaloa Congress in July, she said the topic was “ridiculous” and condemned the PGR’s “coarse leaks” and said she intended to “file a claim with the [Mexican] Human Rights Commission for defamation and moral injury to me, my children and the rest of my family.”
It isn’t known whether she has filed any claim or if she has been called into the PGR for questioning. Chapo’s wife, with whom the kingpin has twin daughters, has not made any public statement on the matter.
PAN leaders have stated that Sánchez will be removed from her post if it proves that she did, in fact, visit Chapo at Altiplano.
Whether or not Sánchez is involved with Chapo, few people doubt that he’s in the Golden Triangle. What’s less clear is that Mexico’s forces will be able to catch him a third time.
“There’s hardly any other place where he could feel more secure than the Golden Triangle, where he has not only friends but family and social protection,” analyst José Reveles, author of the Spanish-language book, “El Chapo: Surrender and Treason,” told Fox News Latino.
Gardenia Mendoza is a freelance reporter in Mexico City.