Drug baron Joaquin Guzman, whose brazen jailbreak embarrassed authorities, has narrowly escaped recapture. But authorities say he was wounded during an operation to rearrest him in recent days.
Mexican authorities admitted on Friday that an operation to rearrest drug cartel boss Joaquin Guzman, who escaped from a high security prison in July, had failed.
But they said the fugitive, known in Spanish as "El Chapo" or "shorty," suffered injuries to his leg and face during an attempt to evade police.
No details were given about when the operation took place but raids reportedly occurred in the states of Durango and Sinaloa in the northwest region, where police have recently focused their efforts after receiving foreign intelligence about Guzman's possible location.
In a statement, the government insisted the drug kingpin's wounds were not a result of a direct clash.
Police say the billionaire boss of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel had inside help to escape from a maximum security prison
Guzman's latest jailbreak took place on July 11 when he crawled down a hole in his prison cell's shower which led to a 1.5 kilometer (one mile) tunnel. He's been previously captured and escaped prison twice before, in one case remaining on the run for 13 years.
Guzman fled days after the US issued an extradition request for him to face murder and drugs charges across the border. The US has offered a 4.7 million euro ($5 million) reward for his capture.
A new video of Guzman's escape was leaked this week, showing how guards took nearly 40 minutes to check inside his cell after he bolted.
US network NBC News reported that Mexican marines closed in on the drug kingping last week after US drug agents intercepted mobile phone signals suggesting he was hiding at a ranch in the Sierra Madre mountains.
NBC said the marines raided the ranch in helicopters, but turned back after taking fire from Guzman's gunmen.
mm/shs (AP, AFP, Reuters)