The secrets of the operation “Blue Shark”, which led to the capture of El Chapo in 2016


In an exclusive interview with the OEM, Nicolás González Perrin recalls that day in January

The early morning of January 8, 2016, when a special command of the Marine Corps broke through the armed fence that protected Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán in a house in the Las Palmas subdivision, in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, leaving him to flee through the sewers, Two women were captured and later released. One of them was his inseparable cook. The other, a mysterious companion of the man who these days is tried in a court in Brooklyn, New York, and whose beauty still remember the sailors.

The deployment of the Navy was known as “Operation Black Swan.” In parallel, there was another operation that until today remained hidden. It was called “Blue Shark”, implemented by the Federal Police and consisted of closing all accesses to Los Mochis, installing revision filters to meet its objective: to find a stolen car.

House in the Las Palmas subdivision, in Los Mochis, Sinaloa where El Chapo was hiding. Photo Cuartoscuro


Nicolás González Perrin woke up early that morning because of the ringing of his cell phone that never stopped ringing. On the other side of the line was his boss, the then commissioner of the Federal Police, Enrique Galindo Ceballos. In those days he was the delegate of the corporation in Sinaloa, remember that he asked what was new in the state if he knew what was happening in Los Mochis.

“All I had at the time was what had happened to me news stories and what had come out in the media, said that there had been at dawn, about four approximately clash between marines and a criminal group to the interior of the city of the Mochis. It was the information that I had at the moment, but it made me curious that it marked me very early. “

In an exclusive interview with the OEM, the current edition of the National Security Commission (CNS) to the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, recalls that day was in Mazatlan with the latest preparations of a group of operations that was going to work in the mountains South of Sinaloa, on its border with Durango, were about 50 agents who would have their base in the municipality of Escuinapa.

Nicolás González Perrin.


After hanging up on that call, he ordered the group to move from support to Los Mochis, not knowing exactly what was happening in that city in the north of the state.

“I sent the group precisely to give support to the units that were working in the land of Semar, and also to give restraint to the city in case it was required by the state or municipal authorities or the same citizenship. So it was ordered to implement the operation that was called ‘Blue Shark’ “.

Commando in Guamúchil

The first action of the agents of the Federal Police was to close all the entrances and exits of the municipality . It was the protocol with which Blue Shark was activated. The responsible for the station of the corporation in Los Mochis supervised that morning that all the units were in the points that had been organized and planned previously.

Shortly before seven o’clock in the morning, the Federal Police, even with their agents of the night shift, were already installed in crossings and strategic avenues for the control of the city.

When El Chapo Guzmán fled after the confrontation that his men had with the Navy, where four of them died and six more were arrested, he used the transversal drainage -the pluvial- where he stayed for about four hours .

When he left he was accompanied by one of his gunmen’s chiefs in the northern area of Sinaloa, who had his base in Guamúchil, where he became famous for facing the army. It was Orso Iván Gastelum, alias “el Cholo”, famous because years ago in a clash with the military in the Évora region, his companion, who turned out to be a former beauty queen, lost his life in the crossfire.

When leaving the drainage “the Cholo” stopped a vehicle, a white Jetta, lowered the driver and stole it. Streets ahead, towards the exit to Guasave, the vehicle broke down, and they looked for another one. They stopped a red Focus, they took out who was driving and they continued their flight. They did not imagine that the driver of the car would report the theft, which led to the communications center C-4 to launch an alert to all corporations, municipal, state and federal and in turn to the units in the field about what happened.

Sewer through which El Chapo emerged. Photo Cuartoscuro


At dawn on January 8 the only thing that the Federal Police had was the report of violent robbery of a red Focus vehicle, two people at gunpoint had stolen it to head towards the south exit.

“That’s where everything starts to work, and that’s where I speak of the virtuous circle of security, as when everyone does what corresponds to them until the impossible becomes possible,” says González Perrin.

Shortly before eight o’clock in the morning one of the units saw the vehicle pass by and reported it. He was ordered to stop him in the filter when he stopped at the checkpoint that was part of the operation “Blue Shark”, a single element of the Federal Police approached while asking for support. In a few minutes, another unit arrived with two elements. Then they noticed that one of the two who were in that car, was the most wanted man since he escaped through a tunnel in the federal prison of La Palma, in the State of Mexico.

From then on, everything went against the clock. The reports began to flow immediately, they arrived at the station chief, who coordinated the placement of the units in the field while he warned González Perrin over the phone.

The order was to take them to the facilities of the 89th Infantry Battalion there in Los Mochis. Four more officers arrived on their patrols to the point where they had intercepted the red Focus, adding up to six. When they left for the military barracks, González Perrin was boarding a helicopter, and his special equipment was already on its way to more than 180 kilometers per hour on the highway north of the state. In the air, a report from their intelligence teams said that a large group of people and vehicles were moving in a caravan from the city of Guamúchil, a distant hour and a half from the place of capture. They had no certainty, but being the place under Cholo’s control, they sensed that they were going to rescue El Chapo .

At that moment, the agents of the group of four patrols that were going to the battalion realized that there was a series of trucks on the side of the road. It seemed as if they expected someone’s passage. The possibility of the rescue increased .


When the head of the station received the report he contacted González Perrin, told him what was happening and suggested that they stop at a hotel nearby to protect themselves as the aid arrived.

From the helicopter, he requested support from the commander of the ninth military zone in Culiacán to send soldiers to the hotel where they had gotten involved with the detainees.

Meanwhile, three other agents arrived at the hotel to add nine, some took positions on the roof, others at the entrance and a couple more guarded the room where they were put.

“The big group was going by land, the 50 that we had, and I was in the helicopter, which was about 15 minutes away to land. So the companions are safeguarded and fortunately the support of the Ministry of Defense comes very quickly, they are the ones who first come to support us. Then the Federal Police units arrive, and then Marina. “

When González Perrin stood in front of Chapo Guzmán, he remembers that he was resigned, he was sitting on the edge of a bed, his hands handcuffed in front, with his shirt of suspenders damp with spots of dirt. He found out about the offer he had made to the first agents, suggested that they release him and they would immediately receive several million dollars. He also commented that they would be given shares of companies there in Sinaloa.

El Chapo was sitting on the edge of a bed, his hands cuffed in front. Photo Cuartoscuro


– Echeme the hand commander -remember what he said.

“We only do our job,” said the custodian.

When the Navy arrived, he attacked Chapo, Gonzalez Perrin said he intervened so that he would not be mistreated .

Around 10 o’clock in the morning, the convoy of several vehicles with 200 people left the hotel for the airport where a plane was already waiting for them. When they landed in Mexico City in the hangar of the Secretariat of the Navy, she was given clean clothes to make her more comfortable. El Chapo was groomed and changed always followed by his escort of federal agents.

It had been the longest four hours for a team of 10 Federal Police agents, who with Operation “Tiburón Azul” who were looking for a stolen car, found the most wanted drug lord in Mexico.

The moment in which Joaquín Guzmán is presented at the Presidential Hangar. Photo Cuartoscuro


“When everyone does their part, there are no impossible. The citizenship did its part, the state authorities did their part, the federal authority also worked as a team within the Federal Police group, each of the comrades who participated in the event did exactly what they had to do. “

Nicolás González Perrin used this experience of inter-institutional coordination to analyze the security challenges he expressed in his first book, Making the impossible possible. A look at public safety in Mexico, where the story of the fall of Chapo Guzmán was an example.

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