Crime Trackers

Feb 24, 2014 8:23 PM by Lupita Murillo

Nogales ICE wire tap leads to notorious drug kingpin arrest in Mexico

TUCSON - A wiretap from Nogales, Arizona by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents is being credited for capturing Mexico's most wanted drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

The arrest of "El Chapo" Guzman has huge implications around the world. Authorities say, his Sinaloa cartel is behind most of the illicit drugs crossing the U.S. border.

Retired Federal agent, Terry Kirkpatrick was on the task force that hunted Guzman back in 2001 when he escaped from a Mexican prison. He says "Every time somebody gets taken down that makes what they call the wiretaps heat up. So, people start talking a lot more. And the more they talk the more information they are getting so as they are listening in on these wiretaps they were able to track Guzman down to Mazatlan."

He says 13 years ago, "We would come close to getting him in the outer fringes but no we never got close enough. He stayed for quite a number of years he stayed up in the mountains and operated out of there. The mountains are so dangerous that not even the Mexican Army would go up there."

It's in the mountains of Nogales, Arizona where communication equipment tracked Chapo Guzman. According to officials, when the Mexican Marines raided seven houses in Culiacan, they seized numerous cell phones that contained vital information to the whereabouts of Chapo Guzman.

"Every time they arrested a member of the Sinaloa Cartel, agents would go and interview them or interrogated them down in Mexico. Every bit of information is like a puzzle, it added up."

Kirkpatrick wrote a book,"Sixty Miles of Border". In it, a picture of himself coming out of a tunnel underneath a bathtub in Agua Prieta. According to officials, it's similar to how Chapo Guzman escaped from a house in Culiacan just days before finally getting caught in Mazatlan.

For now, authorities on this side are monitoring the situation and they say they will be prepared if violence should break out.

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