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Oops... Mexican authorities admit mistaken identity in major drugs cartel arrest

A car salesman was arrested after Mexican police thought he was the son of one of the country’s most-wanted drug lords.

Elodia Leon Vega holds up photos of her sons during a news conference in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Elodia Leon Vega holds up photos of her sons during a news conference in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Image: Bruno Gonzalez/AP/PA

MEXICAN AUTHORITIES have admitted they were incorrect in claiming that a man arrested last week was the son of one of the country’s most-wanted drug lords.

The young man arrested on Thursday was thought to be the son of Juaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, but instead turned out to be 23-year-old car salesman Felix Beltran Leon.

Leon’s family has denied any links with Guzman and his mother made an impassioned plea on television for his release, calling the situation “a real injustice”.

Now the attorney general’s office has confirmed that tests have proven that the man arrested last week is not Guzman’s son, but say he is still under investigation for guns and money found during his arrest.

Yesterday the AG’s office issued a statement saying that the original information on his identity had come from the US – while the US Drug Enforcement Administration said that Mexico had informed it that it was holding Guzman’s son, Alfredo Guzman Salazar.

The US recently placed financial sanctions on Alfredo Guzman Salazar and his mother; three years ago the young man and his father were indicted on drug trafficking charges in Illinois.

Guzman, or El Chapo meaning ‘Shorty’, is the billionaire head of the Sinaloa cartel and has been on the run since escaping from prison in a laundry cart more than ten years ago. The FBI has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

- Additional reporting by the AP and the AFP

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