Authorities searching for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman may have gotten a huge tip from the escaped Mexican drug kingpin’s own son.
Or, the “tip” may be nothing more than a fraud, experts say.
A Twitter account belonging to an Alfredo Guzman — the name of one of the kingpin’s sons — tweeted out a photo on Aug. 31 of himself sitting with two men at an outdoor restaurant space.
One man’s face was totally obscured. The other was partially covered, revealing only a black mustache that looks suspiciously like the drug lord’s.
On the bottom of the tweet was a locator identifier that showed the photo was purportedly taken in Costa Rica.
Officials in Mexico and the U.S. have been hunting for Guzman since he escaped from a high-security prison in Mexico in July via a sophisticated tunnel. Last month, the U.S. government offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.
The tweet, written in Spanish, shows the three men with their elbows on the table, empty Coca-Cola bottles in front of them. The text on it translates roughly to “Comfortable here, you already know with who.” It has not been verified by NBC News.
Michael Vigil, former chief of operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, conceded that the mustachioed man in the photo, which is partly concealed by cartoon emojis, looks like Guzman.
But he said he would be shocked if Guzman’s son accidentally left Twitter’s location function on and was enjoying a casual outdoor meal with one of the most wanted men in the world.
“I strongly suspect that this was a fraud. Chapo Guzman is not going to be in Costa Rica sitting at a public restaurant,” he told TODAY.
Especially, Vigil said, because if Guzman is caught outside of Mexico, he could be extradited to the U.S.
“Unless he has a death wish, I don’t think he would be leaving Mexico any time soon.”