Did ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán Finance Peña Nieto’s Campaign? DEA Says Claims By Ex-Intelligence Director Don’t Reflect Agency Opinion

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán
El Chapo is escorted by soldiers during a presentation at the Navy's airstrip in Mexico City February 22, 2014. He runs Mexico's infamous Sinaloa Cartel and over the past decade emerged as one of the world's most powerful organized crime bosses. After being incarcerated there are rumors swirling that he was killed by rival cartel Los Zetas. Reuters

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a press release on Monday distancing itself from remarks made by ex-intelligence director Phil Jordan in an interview with Univision shortly after the arrest of Sinaloa cartel drug boss Joaquín  “El Chapo” Guzmán over the weekend. Jordan told Univision news anchors that he’d been surprised by news of Guzmán’s capture. “I never thought that with the PRI” -- or the Institutional Revolutionary Party, to which Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto belongs -- “they would arrest him,” Jordan said, “because El Chapo Guzmán contributed a lot of money to the campaign of Peña Nieto.”

Asked for proof of his claim, Jordan said he couldn’t point to specific papers, but added that “in the intelligence that we had -- that we have -- el Chapo has always had his hand in politics.” In their press release on Monday, the DEA said that Jordan and other retired agents’ opinions “do not reflect the views of the Drug Enforcement Administration” and congratulated Mexican officials on the arrest. Animal Politico notes that the State Department put out a similar release the same day. 

Jordan, who CNN notes was part of the DEA for three decades, rising to the head of the agency’s Intelligence Center in El Paso, Texas, had earlier told CNN that he considered Guzmán “more powerful” than the Mexican president. In interview with Univision, he speculated on possible ulterior motives from the government for the arrest. “Something bad happened between the PRI and el Chapo Guzmán … I don’t why they arrested him, when he was paying millions of dollars so that they didn’t arrest him, just as he paid millions of dollars for them to let him go free the last time,” he said. A 2011 book from journalist Anabel Hernández -- who remains under the protection of Mexico City authorities -- dismisses the official story of Guzmán’s 2001 jailbreak, saying he actually walked out the front door of the prison in police uniform.

He added, “[The contributions] are documented on the past campaigns of the PRI. El Chapo, [recently released Guadalajara cartel boss] Caro [Quintero], all of them gave mone to whoever was running to be president. I don’t have the papers but there are intelligence reports which indicate that el Chapo’s cartel was very involved in politics.”

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