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Arrest Of Sinaloa Kingpin “El Chapo” Won’t Reduce Drug Trafficking Through San Diego

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Photo caption:

Photo credit: U.S. Department of State

A mug shot of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman taken in 1995.

Drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is in a maximum security Mexican prison following his capture. His prosecution on dozens of charges could last for years. But experts say it won't stop the flow of drugs across the border.

Since the weekend arrest of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman-Loera, the reputed kingpin on Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, U.S. law enforcement officials have been lining up to press for his extradition. Federal prosecutors in Chicago and New York say they want to try the man known as "El Chapo" in their jurisdictions.

In San Diego, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said, "For many years our narcotics enforcement team has focused almost exclusively on cases involving his cartel."

Duffy said Guzman's arrest is a "very meaningful development" for law enforcement in San Diego and around the world.

Whether Guzman will ever answer for suspected crimes in the U.S. is still an open question. As is his fate in Mexico, where he's been sentenced to prison once before and escaped to live free for 13 years.

Octavio Rodriguez with the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego said Guzman's arrest is the biggest accomplishment of the Mexican government in the last 13 years, but he said, it won't mean the end of the Sinaloa cartel.

"The impact of these arrests is minimal but it sends a message," he said. "Cartels manage very well to restructure, or create new organizations."

Victor Clark Alfaro, director of the Binational Center for Human Rights in Tijuana said, "If the government is willing to end the activities of [the Sinaloa cartel], we would see the arrests of politicians and businessmen."

But he said he doubts that will happen.

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