'Drunk on his own wine': How 'El Chapo' Guzmán's mistakes led to his capture

Peter Vincent 60 Minutes El ChapoCBS News/60 MinutesPeter Vincent, who was a senior official and legal adviser to the Justice Department and Homeland Security during the search for ‘El Chapo’ Guzman.

When vaunted Sinaloa cartel kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán slipped out of a high-security prison and disappeared last July, most observers expected a protracted search, like during the 13 years he spent on the run after his first escape in 2001.

But, it turns out, Guzmán’s pursuers had a little help from the drug lord himself, former US law enforcement officials told CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday.

“He became drunk on his own wine,” said Peter Vincent, who served as a senior official and legal adviser of the Justice Department and Homeland Security during the latest hunt for the Mexican drug lord.

“He started to believe the hype that he was special, that he was almost a demigod, that he was truly magical,” Vincent added. “And he became so incredibly arrogant that he thought he was untouchable.”

The suggestion that hubris led to Guzmán’s recapture just six months after his escape was echoed by Jim Dinkins, who, as former chief of Homeland Security investigations, was part of the joint task force that recaptured Guzmán in 2014 before he escaped a second time.

Guzmán had “definitely” gotten sloppy, Dinkins told “60 Minutes.” “There were more sightings of him in the last six months than there was in the … last 10 years of before he was captured in 2014,” he said.

Guzmán was ultimately recaptured on January 8 in the city of Los Mochis, in northwest Sinaloa state. The month before, Mexican officials had become aware the house was being prepped for Guzmán’s arrival.

As Mexican marines were moving into position to raid the house, an armoured truck left to pick up a big order of tacos — a sign, according to “60 Minutes,” that Guzmán was having a party.

Though he helped build and manage a sophisticated drug-trafficking organisation, Guzmán “ultimately was done in by very simple tastes,” said Vincent.

‘He just couldn’t help himself’

Guzmán’s often brazen behaviour, and his careless communications, appear to have helped bring him down.

The Sinaloa kingpin reportedly dispatched associates to retrieve his daughters’ pet monkey from their former home near the prison that held him. The henchmen’s efforts attracted attention from authorities, who reportedly tracked the monkey and its handlers to northwest Mexico, a region called the Golden Triangle where he was hiding out.

Guzmán’s sordid relationship with Mexican actress Kate del Castillo and his meeting with American actor Sean Penn appear to be the most damning signs of the drug lord’s carelessness.

After Guzmán’s rearrest on January 8 and the publication Penn’s Rolling Stone story about his meeting with the Sinaloa boss on January 9, Mexican officials said the meeting between the two had been monitored.

“Mr. Penn’s meeting with Mr. Guzmán led to a raid on a compound in the state of Durango,” sometime in October, The New York Times reported on January 10. Guzmán escaped that raid, suffering a face wound and a leg injury in the process.

The Mexican military, in its search for Guzmán in Durango, also reportedly shot up homes and displaced hundreds of residents.

Mexico’s attorney general, Arely Gomez, also said the day after Guzmán’s arrest that authorities had been able to hunt him down because of his meetings with actors and producers regarding a film about his life — a film that Guzmán is reportedly still in favour of making.

“He had all the cards in his hand to go off into the sunset,” Dinkins, the who was part of the force that caught Guzmán in 2014, told “60 Minutes.”

“But he just couldn’t help himself,” Dinkins said. “And he remained in the public eye.”

Watch the entire “60 Minutes” segment below:


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