Mexico Detains Top Money Launderer To Drug Lord El Chapo

The chief money launderer for notorious drug lord Joaquín Guzmán Loera has been detained in southern Mexico, the country's Federal Police said Sunday.

In a statement, police said Juan Manuel Alvarez was captured in Oaxaca City "without firing a single shot."

"The coordination of intelligence and field work allowed us to track down the subject, between the states of Sinaloa and Jalisco, but as he relaxed his safety perimeter to spend the holidays in the capital of the state of Oaxaca, the capture was carried out," the statement said.

Police described Manuel Alvarez as "the main operator of money laundering" in one of Mexico's largest criminal organizations, the Sinaloa cartel, which has been led for decades by Guzmán, who is also known as "El Chapo."

Guzmán, who was first arrested in the early 1990s, has twice absconded from Mexican prisons in spectacular fashion.

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After tunneling out of a maximum security facility last July, he was caught earlier this year — but only after giving an interview to actor Sean Penn, who wrote a lengthy story about the encounter for Rolling Stone. (The Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo, who helped arrange the meeting, has questioned parts of Penn's account.)

Shortly after Guzmán's capture in January, Mexican authorities began the process of extraditing him to the United States, where the federal government in at least five jurisdictions is vying to prosecute him on drug trafficking charges.