According to USA Today, Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman allegedly slipped into California twice last year to visit relatives while on the run after his daring escape from a Mexican prison, his eldest daughter claims.
Rosa Isela Guzman Ortiz, a U.S. citizen, also alleges in an interview with The Guardian that her father bankrolled the election of senior Mexico politicians.
Guzman Ortiz, who runs a series of small businesses in the U.S., claims corrupt Mexican officials helped her father evade a massive manhunt last year shortly after his interview with Hollywood star Sean Penn.
The 39-year-old daughter of the cartel boss says her father crossed the border in late 2015 to visit relatives and to view a five-bedroom house that he had bought for her in the U.S. In securing the interview, the newspaper agreed not to disclose its location.
“My dad deposited the money in a bank account with a lawyer and a while after he came to see the house, his house. He came twice,” she says.
She declined to explain how he was able to cross the heavily guarded border: “I asked him the same, believe me,” she tells The Guardian.
The elusive drug kingpin was recaptured in January after seven months on the run following his daring escape from a high security Mexican prison through an elaborate, mile-long tunnel.
Earlier this week, Guzman instructed his lawyers to drop efforts to fight extradition to the U.S. apparently in hopes of negotiating a lighter sentence.
The drug lord’s third wife is a U.S. citizen and gave birth to twin daughters in southern California in 2011. At the time, then Mexican president Felipe Calderónspeculated the fugitive drug kingpin — who was on the run from an earlier prison break — could be hiding north of the border. “He’s not in Mexican territory, and I suppose ‘El Chapo’ is in U.S. territory,” he told The New York Times.
The Guardian says Guzman Ortiz’s identity was verified through several documents including a birth certificate and a Mexican voting card. Her identity was also confirmed by Francisco Villa Gurrola, an evangelical minister in El Chapo’s hometown of Badiraguato, who is a close friend of the drug lord’s 87-year-old mother Consuela Loera, the newspaper says.
The British newspaper says Guzman Ortiz made the claims in a series of interviews that she says were given in consultation with her father. The newspaper said it is the first time she has spoken to the media.
El Chapo’s daughter accuses senior Mexican politicians of accepting donations from her father when they ran for office in exchange for turning a blind eye to his prison escapes. “My dad is not a criminal. The government is guilty,” she says.
The newspaper says her claims could not be independently verified and “are likely to be vigorously contested by Mexican and U.S. authorities.”
by Doug Stanglin, for USA TODAY
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