Fugitive drug lord ‘El Chapo’ injured while on the run

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Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman

(CNN) – Fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman suffered injuries while trying to escape as authorities closed in on him, Mexican officials said.

Guzman broke out of prison through an underground tunnel in July, and has been on the run since then.

In a statement Friday, officials said intelligence pointed them to focus on northeast Mexico.

Mexican officials said they launched an operation in the area, prompting the kingpin to make a hurried escape that left him with injuries on his face and one leg.

Authorities did not provide specifics on the date and exact location of the operation, or how he got injured.

“It is important to note that these injuries were not the result of a direct confrontation,” the statement said.

Mexico’s most notorious drug lord stepped into a shower in July. He slipped through a hole in the shower stall and into a tunnel that led out of the maximum-security Altiplano Federal Prison, authorities said then.

The opening connected to a vertical passageway that was outfitted with a ladder and led to another tunnel that had tracks for a modified motorcycle.

It’s unclear how or where Guzman went, but authorities have indicated that at some point during his escape, a pilot flew him farther from the prison.

“El Chapo,” whose nickname means “short” in Spanish, seemed to have vanished into thin air.

A look inside El Chapo’s underground hideaways

While the notorious drug lord got a taste of freedom, those suspected of helping him escape were in custody.

A pilot accused of playing a role in his escape was arrested this month, the nation’s attorney general said.

An additional 34 people have been arrested in connection with the July 11 escape.

Authorities have not said whether any of the suspects provided them with information to help track Guzman.

Official: Pilot who helped ‘El Chapo’ escape captured

Mexico came under fire following the prison break for its inability to handle high-profile criminals, with critics pointing to corruption and the power wielded by drug cartels in the country.

Guzman’s incident was not his first escape from prison.

He broke out of a maximum-security prison in 2001 while reportedly hiding in a laundry cart. Authorities arrested him in February last year — after 13 years on the lam.

Then he escaped again in July this year.

The legend of ‘El Chapo’: Cartel chief cultivated Robin Hood image

The U.S. announced a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest. Mexico has offered $3.8 million.

Guzman is charged with drug trafficking and related crimes in several U.S. federal courts, including Arizona, California, Texas, Illinois, New York and Florida.

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