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Mexican official: 'not one single' U.S. agent helping in 'El Chapo' manhunt

By Andrew V. Pestano
Mexican official: 'not one single' U.S. agent helping in 'El Chapo' manhunt
Mexican Secretary of Interior Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said Monday that the United States is assisting with intelligence operations but has not deployed agents in the hunt for notorious drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Photo courtesy of Mexico's Attorney General

MEXICO CITY, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- The United States is assisting with intelligence operations but has not deployed agents in the hunt for notorious drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, according to a Mexican official.

In a radio interview with Mexico's Radio Formula, Secretary of Interior Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said "not one single person" from a U.S. security agency is participating in the manhunt for Guzman in Mexico.

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The United States is collaborating by exchanging technology and intelligence to aid in the capture of Guzman, Osorio explained.

"We're working on his capture, but it would be irresponsible to say we've got him in one place or that we're surrounding him," Osorio said, adding that he could not provide an estimate of when Guzman will be captured.

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Last week, Mexico arrested six people suspected of having a key role in Guzman's escape, including his brother-in-law and the apparent mastermind of the prison break.

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The arrests came days after Mexican television channel Televisa broadcasted the CCTV footage of Guzman's escape -- the longer version of a video authorities previously released but without sound and only showing the moments before Guzman disappeared.

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In July, Guzman escaped from a Mexican maximum security prison for the second time using a mile-long tunnel, which could have taken a year to build. PVC piping, likely used for ventilation and lighting, was found throughout the tunnel. A motorcycle was also found, apparently used to dig and to transport materials for the tunnel.

"El Chapo" -- meaning "The Short One" or "shorty" -- so dubbed because of his 5-foot-6-inch frame, was captured in Guatemala in 1993 and then extradited to Mexico to face murder and drug trafficking charges. He escaped from prison in 2001 by hiding in a laundry cart after bribing prison guards, and was re-captured in February 2014. Guzman's previous escape allegedly cost him about $2.5 million.

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