MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities have acknowledged that they made a mistake when they claimed to have arrested the son of fugitive drug lord Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman earlier in the week.
The man captured by Mexican marines Thursday and initially identified as Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar is in fact Felix Beltran, a 23-year-old car dealer, the federal attorney general’s office said in a brief statement late Friday.
The gaffe is an embarrassment to supporters of President Felipe Calderon, who had hailed the arrest, coming just days before Mexico's July 1 presidential election, as an important victory in the government's bloody war on drug cartels.
In its statement, the attorney-general's office did not give details on how it had established Beltran's identity nor did it explain how the mistake was made. In presenting the man to reporters, the military had said "intelligence work" had led to the arrest in Zapopan, a suburb of Guadalajara.
A woman claiming to be Beltran's mother held a news conference with an attorney Friday and pointed out the error. She offered pictures of her son.
Earlier this month, the United States placed the Guzman son on its Treasury Department black list, along with other members of the family, barring them from doing business with U.S. companies or individuals and alleging they play roles in Chapo Guzman's multibillion-dollar drug business.
For the record, 3:16 p.m. June 23: A previous version of this post said the Mexican attorney general's office issued its statement Saturday.
Los Angeles Times- Tracy Wilkinson