According to reports in Mexican magazine Proceso, US Navy SEALs are planning a raid to catch “or kill” notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman (aka El Chapo).Guzman is the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, regarded as the world’s largest and most powerful drug trafficking organisation, responsible for a large amount of the instability in Mexico.
The story, based on anonymous American and Mexican military sources and translated here, explains details of the plan to find Guzman, whom they believe is hiding somewhere in the mountainous region of the western Mexican states of Sinaloa and Durango.
Aside from Navy SEALs operatives, Northern Command members (a 2002 Pentagon operation created in response to the attacks of Al Qaeda in order to protect national interests and security of U.S. territories) would likely be involved in directing the mission (unlike the similar Osama bin Laden raid in which President Obama and his cabinet members, along with defence personnel, were in the room making decisions during the raid). Two Navy SEALs teams would be involved, one landing from armed helicopters and attacking on ground, another team staying airborne and being assisted by three unmanned drones with missiles attached, reports WIRED.
A notable omission from the plans is any involvement from the Mexican military, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed. While this plan was reportedly approved by Mexico’s lame duck President Felipe Calderon, the Mexican army and navy reportedly had serious qualms with the plan. One such objection: American military involvement in Mexico would violate Mexican law, which prohibits foreign law enforcement or military agencies from operating on their territory unless under very strict conditions stipulating the operatives, among other things, be unarmed.
Another setback to the plan is that Calderon is on his way out, and the incoming Enrique Peña Nieto may not be as welcoming to the thought of U.S. military intervention, nor to the idea that killing the leader necessarily hurts the cartels power.
The accuracy of the report is hard to gauge, but last year’s Osama bin Laden raid is a good reminder that Navy SEALs have carried out similar raids in foreign countries before.
If it is true, lets hope the raid goes better than the arrest of Guzman’s son earlier this year. Mexican authorities paraded their suspect in front of cameras until they were forced to admit they had arrested the wrong man.
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