‘El Chapo’ captured: U-M experts available

January 12, 2016
Contact: umichnews@umich.edu


Mexican authorities are beginning the extradition process for Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Professors at the University of Michigan can discuss the implications of Guzman’s recapture:

Jason de León, assistant professor of anthropology, has spent the last five years researching immigration from Mexico to the U.S. near the Arizona/Mexico border.

“The recapture of El Chapo is likely going to change the dynamics in northwest Mexico as other cartels vie for the territory,” he said. “This happened previously and led to a spike in cartel violence. Changes in the control of this territory also has the potential to make it more difficult, violent, and costly for Mexican and non-Mexican migrants seeking passage through Chihuahua and Sonora.

“A spike in violence in this region would likely attract new interest from the American federal government and those invested in spending more money on relatively ineffective—yet lucrative if you are a government contractor—security measures in southern Arizona. The anti-immigrant rhetoric in Arizona is still intense and incidents of cartel violence in Sonora are typically conflated with migration issues in an attempt to connect the two for political gain.”

Contact: 734-764-8577, jpdeleon@umich.edu

Melvyn Levitsky, professor of international policy and practice at the Ford School of Public Policy, studies the drug trade and violence that has afflicted Mexico and other parts of Latin America. Before his academic career, Levitsky worked as a U.S. diplomat for 35 years and served as assistant secretary of state for international narcotics matters.

“Although El Chapo’s arrest will not put a big dent in the drug trade, it is significant that the operation to arrest him was conducted in such a sophisticated manner,” he said. “The use of human and electronic intelligence demonstrated the capability of the Mexican counter-narcotic forces to pull together multiple sources of information and to have the patience not to use force prematurely as they sometimes have done in the past. The operation itself was conducted smoothly and with careful planning. This is a big plus for the Mexican Government and erases, at least partially, the embarrassment of El Chapo’s escape from a ‘maximum security” prison.”

Contact: 734-615-4262, levitsky@umich.edu