EP 6: The Hunt


What El Chapo is Gabe. Came through his from the marines and the in that house, and we were add few minutes ago, he came out from this tunnel. So we're looking at a concrete tunnel. That's about maybe five and a half feet tall. I'm about five seven and I have two hundred over. So I'm a I'm about Trump height, more or less. This is too too short. Even for me to like stand up upright. I'm guessing this is like sewage water running here. So I'm not getting she's an he ran for like three miles through. This naked apparently because he was running out like got busted mid quotas. So he comes out of this tunnel goes up the stairs right next to us. And it's a long major road. His guys are waiting for him. He jets off to Moslon goes to the beach, essentially, and that's war. This the aging thing HOGAN HOGAN, Boston. Episode six the heart. Troppo had spent most of the nineties in prison, then escapes in two thousand one is basically on the run for the next thirteen years. He was constantly on the move during this time trying to avoid getting captured and are some near misses like when he escapes his safehouse via the sewage tunnel. But he always finds a way out until he doesn't. Just drew HOGAN was a former DA special agent that led the investigation capture of chop. Who's mon- Jew was in the from two thousand six to two thousand fourteen he's tall, short blond hair. Blue eyes, look straight out of central casting for D agent. I talked to him in Chicago where he lives now when he was rookie and the DA choose first assignment was in San Diego where he was part of a drug task force. Trump was on the FBI's most wanted list by that point. But there hasn't been a lot of progress in actually tracking him down. So drew starts learning all about L chopping gone from being this kid from sticks to one of the biggest narcotraffickers Mexican kind of fixed. Choose working with a partner we call Diego since this guy is still undercover Diego expose to the the Narco Korito that we've all heard a lot of people have heard their la- tuna, which is the the boy from Lucia. Diego educated me, more and more just became you know, became apparent to me is what what I wanted to do. That was the biggest biggest fish. So let's go after that guy. True goes through every filed the agency has on troppo at first. There aren't any solid leads everybody that we came crossed in the streets are arrested who's this dope belong to ultimately job. Right. All the people. The DA agents are talking to say that one way or another every drug shipment can be traced back to troppo. But a lot of these leads turn out to be dead. Ends. Our strategy was to work up the ladder. No one has actually been able to work their way up the chain to Chapo, so drew and his partner decide to start at the bottom the street level investigations that the and I worked over the years led us into a multi-million dollar money laundering, sell that money laundering cell is aligned with the scene alot cartel and it's crucial to business drug trafficking operations like his move huge amounts of cash, which poses some serious challenges. Right. Like, they can just walk. Into a Bank with frisk aces full of millions of dollars and make it boss. They need people who can move their money through all the businesses to make it look legal so June his partner become money launderers and they start to move the cartels cash. Where would you bring it? Would you put it in your car like unit? Because those were the questions that we had before we started doing it. Does this all word? What does this look like we pick up a bag full of money? And yes, the answer's yes. I mean, that's that's really the way it happens. He's partner. Diego actually fools the cartel into thinking, he's the director of operations for US company. That's a front for a huge criminal enterprise. It's supposed to be the sort of organization that would have access to boats in airplanes and tractor trailers to transport drugs all over the world and to be able to launder millions of dollars in our first money pick up they were talking about. It was one hundred nine thousand dollars actually delivered it to us in a laundry detergent bucket. A Home Depot parking lot. So you're like literally laundering the money in a laundry detergent. One. After that. It was time to talk about moving till came for them. Offer a propane transportation contracts with that level of trust. They're able to get some really good Intel which helps them busts in cartel guys in Mexico, Canada, Colombia and the US. We had any chance taffy Joppa whatsoever. I needed to be in in Mexico in two thousand eleven right before drew moves down to Mexico. The DA catches a break. I was ready to go to Mexico City and the ago had flipped a key member of does inner circle at the US Mexico border, a member of chop inner circle detained while trying to cross the border the calls me up and he's he's pretty excited. And it's like I got his number my whose number I got CS number like literally the phone that chopper holes in his hand. Literally phone a month later, the phone is traced to a house new Kabo, San Lucas resort city at the tip of Baja California paying the device to a a mansion there just outside Kabo and once the DA in Mexican federal police thing nowhere troppo is they organize a joint operation to go. After him the limited resources that they have and Chapo escaped the back door. Still they searched the house and collect all the evidence. They can what the team learns changes how they see troppo. He was he was vulnerable. He wasn't traveling around with a hundred armed bodyguards and drive around black Suburbans everywhere. You know, if you think about it if you're on the run for ten years, you gotta be watching your back wherever you go. And how many people are you gonna tell where you're at? Now, they think they really have a chance of capturing. And after that near missing Kabo, he becomes even more isolated communicating with the outside world view, one of his personal assistance. There two guys who take turns staying with him day and night over the next year. Or so the DA figures out that choppers phone rarely leaves a network of safe houses in Korea con, but they still don't have Trump exact location to get that they need someone in Trumpers, inner circle our only option at that time was career by the name of that. He's which means. The knows our guys on the ground found him near his home. And he coughed up Joppa location, which we were able to corroborate via the Ping's that he was now at a different safehouse. He was starting to move. He was at safehouse five. We had labeled it it was a a two storey medium sized Thome in a neighborhood. Didn't stand out at all. So we are outside of what was once L troppo safehouse in con, it's nice, but not super nice. It's like a pretty generic residential block with other pretty nondescript I would say like middle class houses for cool, Yukon. I think the goal was to give it low. It's got sort of a two big Brown garage doors in the front and then this like super heavy steel reinforced door on February seventeenth two thousand fourteen the Mexican marines storm the house through one of the garage doors. So it takes the marines. Probably a good ten minutes to get through the steel reinforced door to talk to one of my guys on the ground. Who said that he could see the lights come on upstairs. You could see people peeking through the blinds. And by the time the marines got through that door and into the house. Everybody was gone, and we walk in through the front door and into the bathroom off the bedroom. And see the tub that's propped up at a forty five degree angle with a tunnel below it. At a ladder underneath of it went down to fully shored tunnel would lighting but ten foot underground that connected directly to door in the city sewer system, and you'll put up door, and there you are in a labyrinth of sewer tunnels built by the city. So so close that he didn't have time to get dressed. He's like naked running through the sewer, right? Which was just typical because when I was in down there and one of the tunnels he had a white plastic grocery bag full of tidy whiteys. That is the spousal. I mean, how how often do you escape from a tunnel naked where you have to have a go bag of tidy ways. Yes. What's going through your head when you walk in and see this, this bathtub popped up and know that oh shit. He's gone. That was the moment where it was like, all right? The hunts on now the hunts on. All of troppo safe houses have tunnels underneath their bathtubs. The lead into the sewers and tidy why aren't the only thing. Yes. Dash drew says they also found choppers. Rainy day fund, the one tunnel. We found three tons of. After Trump troppled escape Drew's team and the Mexican marines set up shop inside choppers safehouse rented up cooking, some eggs on the stove and making some instant coffee and as kitchen while they plan their next move, the even sleep there. Drew also goes into troppled closet and takes one of troppo signature black baseball caps. I took one and stuck underneath my vest. Kind of as the only souvenir of the hunt. Really? He says chop whose house was pretty simple white, plastic, WalMart style furniture kitchen table and chairs fold other couches. Maybe a picture to hanging on the wall dark cabinets nothing that you would expect any you know, billionaire drug kingpin to to have. But this was Chapo style. He didn't come from much. I don't think he'd necessarily needed much didn't need to flaunt things. I think that's what most people who know will chapel with several of them like in. You'll the little details of business the price of fuel for splaine's and how much he's bribing people in the garment guard about stuff like that. His main vice seems to be women. He's been married three times. And apparently has at least twelve kids. His current wife is a local beauty Queen. And he has a reputation as a womanizer drew says the intercepted messages that showed chop making arrangements to have sex workers sent to safe houses. He had like this menu of women. He could choose from the Madam with deliver the selected to occur who had transport that Dell over to the over to the house for the night. And he would do that. It was it was non stop. After a few more days gathering leads the Mexican marines and the DA find out the troppo has fled to Maza lawn. A town on the coast, they have troppo assistance phone number, and they're able to pinpoint Trump was exact location at a hotel on the beach on February twenty-second two thousand fourteen they make their move. I drove the lead car along with the commanding Lieutenant and report brought up there to the front of the hotel. The gates open the marine started flooding the inside the lights are coming on on the fourth floor, and all of a sudden he realizes that maybe troppo has another escape route all set up, and then he might get away again. So I run down to the street. I'm gonna physically jogger privilege to make sure that we're covered because he's escaping. He's doing it. Right at this very moment. That's what I hear excited radio chatter. That says we've got the target. We've got the target drew rushes to where every. Gathered a parking garage underneath the hotel. Marines are standing around. And they were just starting to stand up a guy with no shirt. And at this time, I'm wearing Chapuis black baseball cap that I'd taken from his his safehouse a black ski mask and I run right up to jump into his face and yell. The first thing that comes to my mind, which is what's up? And at echoes through the parking deck, and his is kind of bulge out there for a second. Because he thought he was going to get hit. And I let them pass through them into the back of my vehicle, and I jumped in I took several pictures of and and that was it. We're talking about a brutal Mexican drug. Lord name Joaquin Guzman known as Chapa or surely tonight. He's in a prison in Mexico City captured in a joint US Mexican operation. No, one could believe that the chapel got capture no-one we believe he used to be protected by the government immediately. After ciampa was busted people took to the streets and quia com demanding that he be set free thousands of people take to the streets showing support for a man they see as their savior, free, El Chapo, say some signs chapel. Give me a baby says another well, I'm bridge show. These people were by the cardinal people love chapel, but not that much. His residents in Ricky Neo exit as a national China. In combat balloting. Organza Trump was put in a supermax prison outside of Mexico City. And the government makes them big deal about how they're going to keep a close watch on him. Like, there's no way he'll ever see the light of day again. But Trump being troppo. That's not how it goes. Good Morning America start here with the breaking news. He has done it again one year after he was captured and paraded in front of the cameras El Chapo as a scape from a maximum security prison in Mexico, virtually vanishing into thin air. For more than a giraffe to chapel sculpture in muscle on the night, July eleven Nelson fifteen his gapes a game. There's security video that shows troppo sitting up in his bed walking to the shower area of his cell and ducking behind short wall. And then just like that he's gone. He escapes again through a tunnel. This one goes from construction site about a mile away from the prison to right under troppo sell. It has lights in ventilation. There's also a motorcycle mounted on a rail which troppled apparently rides to freedom. For the Mexican government to exhibit all shop all we've got chapel. That was like a big thing. That's why when he escaped prison the maximum was so out rushes was very mad. Because why what happened? They chapel make them. Look like a bunch of us to bits. He hold prisoner. And then things get even weirder. The first interview that will trap those give and not in an interrogation room. And it goes to all people a celebrity actor, Sean Penn was able to connect with the drug kingpin after an interview was brokered between him and an actress Kate they'll steal a famous Mexican actress here it reportedly took place three months after the escape of El Chapo when ciampa was imprisoned for that year. So after Jew captured him he asked his lawyers in Mexico to contact the actress Kato Custodio who's one of Mexico's biggest TV stars she'd recently played a drug trafficker in a soap opera, and she also been vocal about. Saying that the Mexican people can't trust their government. She said on Twitter that she believes more drug traffickers, like troppo, the actress and the drug Lord began texting when the media finds out that this soap opera actress is in regular contact without troppo. They have a field day. It looks like a bit of a seduction. Oh my God. They said I had a relationship with a guy this mass media lynching was that sexualizing the whole thing. That's Kato Casteel on Nightline talking about her conversations which. Oh, it's clear from the text messages that troppo has a thing for her. And that she wants the right stays life story at this point. Kate is in L A, and she connects with Sean Penn she thinks Adan more star power to the project. They decide to meet El Chapo in person by this time troppo has been on the run for four months since he made his motorcycle escape so in October two thousand fifteen the fly down to sing alot and are driven to this house in the Sierra L troppo, they have a meal with him drink, some tequila and talk about the movie business. They go back to LA and just a few days later. The Mexican military comes in almost gets troppo and his out in the mountains. Then in January they track him to a safe house in loose Mochis. A town on the coast of seen Loa. Marines were the house at four in the morning. Chewed out launch of oh, chapel sky, man. L troppo and his bodyguard escaped through another tunnel and come out at a highway where they hijack a car. Dr speeding up down when they hit the federal police point chapel trust Brive his way through instead cops arrests early that afternoon. President Pena NATO since at a tweet in Spanish, which basically says mission accomplished we got him the next day Rolling Stone. Publishes feature story that Sean Penn has written about his meeting with El Chapo. So what do you think about what Sean Penn did here? It's a disaster of an article. I mean in it, Sean Penn writes about farting in front of L troppo. Well, it's an insult to the Mexican journalists who face death every day a farce. It makes a mockery of what Mexican journalists. Try to do every day. This whole thing ends badly for pretty much everyone involved. Troppo winds up back in prison and to this day. Kato Casteel feels like she can't return to Mexico. She's afraid she'll get arrested for. Associating with a drug Lord or the choppers? People will blame her for getting him captured the Mexican government said they'd been intercepting text messages between her and troppo. It turns out they were already on his trail. And the text just helped even Sean Penn seems worried about getting blamed for the capture he goes on sixty minutes claims in wasn't his fault. Do you believe that the Mexican government released this in part because they wanted to see you blamed and to put you at risk. Yes. They wanted to encourage the cartel to put you in their crosshairs. Yes. Are you fearful for your life? You know, Sean Penn and Kito castio turned down interview requests. And the editors of Rolling Stone also declined to speak with us. The did get Trump oh to tape video of himself responding to a list of questions, which is one of the only recordings of him that exists that video may actually be used as evidence against troppo during his trial in Trump was on a ranch he admits to being a drug trafficker, and he also says the drug trade is bigger than just him. And that it won't stop when he's gone. As a model? Look as. Copy all he saying when I'm gone, the drug trade will still exist. Nothing's going to change. In January twenty sixteen troppo was taken into custody for good. And then came the fallout. That's next time. So what happened on on the day? He was where were you? When this happened. I was was Indies hotel seven. It was waiting for someone where inquiry Ifan. Yes. And I got a cold. And he was smile director of the newspaper. And I a as mind what's up in their silence on those is and then I heard like. Hair? Like, someone crying is my. Lamontagne the kill him. What the fuck is happening.

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