If you’re one of Mexico’s most notorious drug lords, fresh from escaping prison, what do you do next?
Show up on Twitter, perhaps.
A Mexican official said Monday that he believes a photo posted online by the son of Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquín Archivaldo Guzman Loera, aka “El Chapo,” does in fact include the wanted fugitive.
But that doesn’t mean it shows where “El Chapo” is or reveals when the picture was taken.
A post last Monday to an account believed to belong to El Chapo’s son, Alfredo Guzman, features a picture of the 29-year-old flanked by two men whose faces are obscured by emoticons. The mustachioed man sitting to Alfredo’s right at a restaurant resembles the drug kingpin.
The post says: “Satisfied here, you already know with whom.”
The location tag in the photo is Costa Rica. That could mean the Central American country or the town in Mexico’s Sinaloa state where “El Chapo” is based. Or it may be nothing beyond a ruse to throw off authorities.
And as to the timing of the photo, the only thing for certain is that it went up online a week ago. That’s eight weeks after Guzman stepped into a shower and slipped into a tunnel to escape from the maximum-security Altiplano Federal Prison.
Yet, the Mexican official points out, there is no way to know exactly when the photograph was taken.
As to where, the same official doesn’t think it was in Costa Rica — regardless of what the location tag suggests.
Marco Monge, a spokesman for Costa Rica’s Office of Judicial Investigation, has told CNN that officials in his country believe the location refers not to his country but to the Mexican town.
Daniel Lee, a spokesman for the Mexican attorney general’s office, has said that his government is “aware of the photo.”
Knowing about the image is different, though, than understanding everything about it. El Chapo’s son may have made a mistake, or it could have been put out there to throw off or taunt authorities.
Guzman has twice escaped from prison — spending 13 years on the lam until his February 2014 arrest. That first escape spurred some to urge that he be shipped to prisons over the border in the United States, lest it happen again.
Mexico is offering a reward of up to 60 million pesos ($3.8 million) for information leading to El Chapo’s capture.
And last month, the U.S. government announced rewards of up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest. Guzman has been charged with drug trafficking and related crimes in several U.S. federal courts, including ones in Arizona, Southern California, Texas, Illinois, New York and Florida, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency .
Both sides say they’re looking hard for him, though DEA spokeswoman Barbara Carreno said her agency would not comment on specifics regarding this hunt.
“Chapo is one of the world’s most powerful organized crime figures,” Carreno said. “And, as such, (he) has tremendous resources at his disposal.”