US calls `Chapo` capture a priority

AFP| Updated: Jul 14, 2015, 05:14 AM IST

The United States said Monday it was prioritizing the capture of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who escaped from a maximum security prison over the weekend.

The leader of the powerful Sinaloa cartel faces charges of drug trafficking and organized crime in the United States, where the Chicago Crime Commission has previously named him Public Enemy Number One.

"His swift recapture by Mexican authorities is a priority for both the Mexican and the US governments," State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

He said the US and Mexican attorney generals discussed the issue on Sunday, and "agreed to focus all available resources on his recapture."

Guzman escaped down an elaborate, 1.5-kilometer (one-mile) tunnel Saturday, his second prison escape and an embarrassing blow to the Mexican government.

The Sinaloa cartel kingpin, whose empire stretches around the globe, first escaped in 2001. He was re-arrested in February last year and had been back in prison for 17 months.

Over the weekend, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she shared Mexico`s "concern" and offered help for his "swift recapture."

Some US prosecutors wanted to ask for his extradition following last year`s arrest, but Mexican officials insisted on trying him first.