Mexico seizes planes, homes in search for drug lord

Mexico seizes planes, homes in search for drug lord

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Mexico City (AFP) – Mexican authorities have searched several homes in three states and seized 11 small airplanes in their hunt for fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, prosecutors said Tuesday.

A member of the Mexican Navy stands guard in a street of Culiacan, Sinaloa state, Mexico, during a security operation on October 20, 2015 (AFP Photo/Fernando Brito)

A member of the Mexican Navy stands guard in a street of Culiacan, Sinaloa state, Mexico, during a security operation on October 20, 2015 (AFP Photo/Fernando Brito)

The attorney general’s office said several properties were searched in Guzman’s home state of Sinaloa in the northwest as well as the central states of Mexico and Puebla.

The operations have led to the seizure of several properties, weapons, drugs, trucks and motorcycles over the past three months.

The 11 planes were all seized in Sinaloa.

Guzman’s July 11 escape from a maximum-security prison has been a blackeye to President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration, which had celebrated his capture just 17 months earlier after a 13-year manhunt.

Authorities say that after he fled through a 1.5-kilometer (one-mile) tunnel under his cell shower, Guzman was driven to the central state of Queretaro, where he was flown to Sinaloa.

Marines nearly caught Guzman in a raid earlier this month in which the Sinaloa cartel leader injured a leg and his face while fleeing, according to federal officials.

At least 29 people have been detained over the jailbreak, including several officials from the Altiplano prison in Mexico State.

At least nine other people, including Guzman’s brother-in-law, his lawyer and two pilots, were formally held for trial on charges of helping him flee, judicial officials said this week