The Mexican government released video Monday of the capture of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Friday, filmed from the helmet of one of the marines involved.
The operation was dubbed “black swan.” Early in the morning in a central neighborhood of the Pacific coast city of Los Mochis, 17 Mexican marines began their assault on a safe house thinking there was a good chance was inside.
One marine was wounded by gunfire almost immediately and remained outside the interior front door while his comrades slowly advanced inside behind lobbed grenades and heavy fire.
A marine told a reporter from the Mexican network Televisa said there were more people inside than expected and they were more heavily armed, including with rocket-propelled grenades and .50 caliber sniper rifles.
Attorney general Arely Gomez told local radio that people in the house had ordered food for 13 people the night before the raid.
The marines secured the downstairs rooms first.
As they prepared to go upstairs a marine saw a man at the top of the stairs preparing to fire a rocket-propelled grenade. The marine hit the weapon with a couple shots causing the gunman to toss it, the marine guide said in the Televisa interview.
Upstairs the marines found two women in a bathroom and two men in a room with a large television.
On a roof patio marines found tossed weapons and a ladder leading to a higher roof. It took about 15 minutes to secure the house. Then the marines followed the attackers across rooftops. Four more gunmen were killed in this pursuit.
There had been no sighting of Guzman.
Knowing Guzman’s predilection for tunnels, the marines began looking for an opening. Beside a ground floor bedroom littered with clothing, marines entered a walk-in closet and found an unusual panel behind a mirror. It led to a set of descending stairs.
A six-foot tall tunnel complete with lighting, wood-paneled walls and a concrete floor led to more stairs and then a metal hatch opened into the city’s storm sewer. Guzman and his security chief traveled several blocks before popping out in the middle of an intersection. They stole a car, drove a bit, then stole another.
Federal police eventually found them on a highway outside of town and Guzman’s flight ended six months after his stunning escape from the same maximum security prison where he now sits.
On a tour Monday by an Associated Press photographer, the interior of the house looked much the same with bullet holes pocking its white concrete walls. Clothing and food — a wheel of cheese, lots of cans — were scattered throughout, beds were tossed. Blood was smeared on the walls.