The story of El Chapo’s escape from prison in a laundry cart and his triumphant return to Sinaloa

A book cover shows a colorful painting of El Chapo beneath the title, in bold white letters
The cover of El Chapo: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Drug Lord

In early 2001, Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, the Mexican drug trafficker better known as El Chapo, decided he didn’t want to be in prison any longer.

El Chapo had been at Puente Grande, the maximum-security prison outside of the city of Guadalajara since 1995, locked up for his role in a bloody shootout in 1993 at the Guadalajara airport. And he’d been doing alright at Puente Grande, had enjoyed many of the same creature comforts during his years in Puente Grande as he had on the outside-good food, women, volleyball-and unlike his life on the outside, he even got to sleep in the same place every night. Much of this was thanks to his patronage of Dámaso López Nuñez, who’d taken over as deputy director of security in 1999 and had proved even more pliant than his predecessor in seeing to it that all of El Chapo’s needs were met. When Dámaso arrived, El Chapo immediately began to shower money and gifts on him: ten thousand dollars in cash here, a house there. When one of Dámaso’s children was injured in an accident, it was El Chapo who paid the child’s medical bills.

“When I needed anything, I would ask and he would give it to me,” Dámaso said years later.

Unfortunately for El Chapo, Dámaso had left Puente Grande in the fall of 2000, under a cloud of suspicion amid drastically belated efforts by the government to investigate corruption there. And on January 18, 2001 everything changed for El Chapo when the Supreme Court of Mexico ruled that the United States could extradite Mexican prisoners such as El Chapo, as long as the death penalty was taken off the table. His worst fear, an American prison cell, was suddenly much closer to reality.

A woman in a cramped shop holds up a shirt that reads "Who do you trust" with a picture of El Chapo.
A vendor in Sinaloa state, El Chapo’s birthplace in Mexico, shortly before he was sentenced in 2019.

So the next day he left, smuggled out the door tucked into a laundry cart, rolled to freedom by a guard known as El Chito. And nobody saw fit to stop him.

In the book Narcoland, journalist Anabel Hernandez argues that the laundry cart story was a tall tale cooked up in the wake of the escape to hide the real story: that El Chapo had simply walked out the door. Others have joined Hernandez in speculating that the laundry cart story was a fanciful tale ginned up to cover up a more mundane escape made possible by systemic corruption. (Years later, when El Chapo was finally put on trial at a U.S. federal court in Brooklyn, the laundry cart theory was retold repeatedly by multiple former accomplices.)

Regardless of whether El Chapo was rolled out, or walked out in a stolen guard uniform, it was his ability to buy the right people that allowed him to escape.

El Chapo was back. Within days, he was holding a series of meetings with his partners, including the man who in the ensuing years would become his most steadfast ally, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada García. At one of the first meetings at a lieutenant’s ranch, El Mayo made it clear that he was backing El Chapo to the hilt.

“I’m with you one hundred percent,” El Mayo said. “I’m going to help you with anything you need. And any kilo of coke that I receive from Co- lombia, I’m going to give you half. So for now, just take care of yourself, stay in hiding.”

Two police are seen standing in the back of a vehicle and facing a prison complex, seen in the distance.
Mexican federal police patrol the surroundings of the Puente Grande State prison.

But the question was where. El Chapo was travelling with a hard-to-conceal entourage of armed men, and his face was plastered across televisions and newspapers all over Mexico. Where could he lay low without attracting attention?

El Mayo had an idea.

“Let’s go to Sinaloa,” El Mayo said. “Let’s go back to your native lands.”

“El Cielo”

Perched atop a peak that looms over La Tuna, a ring of cypress trees sits like a crown, blowing faintly in the breeze. From below, across the valley, the trees are all you can see of “El Cielo,” or the Heavens, the home El Chapo built for himself.

It’s a sanctuary he never got to truly enjoy, but which he visited from time to time, sneaking back into his hometown to throw a party or visit his mother.

A man is seen wearing a grey winter coat and looking tentatively to the side.
El Chapo is pictured on July 10, 1993 at La Palma prison in Mexico after being apprehended.

It sits unoccupied now. With El Chapo serving a life sentence at a supermax federal prison in Colorado, it’s unlikely he’ll ever set foot here again. (But don’t tell his mother that-the family once threw out a television reporter who had the temerity to ask Doña Consuelo directly how she felt about her son spending the rest of his life in prison.)

If he were to get out of prison, however, he might want to head to this mountaintop retreat. Indeed when he escaped from Puente Grande prison in January 2001, it was to El Cielo that El Chapo returned, to plot his new empire-and to see his mom.

Things were looking good for him then. He was free, back in the mountains in which he had grown up and gotten his start, where much of the population loved and supported him, and where the remoteness and the rugged terrain provided a natural defense that allowed him to move about with relative ease.

He was moving coke again, and marijuana and heroin as well-there was always more money to be made in cocaine, but the local economy of his sanctuary still relied heavily on the production of those two trusty cash crops, the hills dotted with red poppy flowers and redolent stalks of cannabis.

By purchasing these drugs from local farmers, he could make a handsome profit, prop up local business, and buy an enduring base of support. Who’s going to turn on the guy who pays wholesale for their crops?

Among the farmers El Chapo bought from in those days was a man named José,* an affable father of three, born, raised, and still living in a small town just off the highway. (Names marked with an asterisk are pseudonyms.)

An elderly woman is seen seated in a car and looking out the window.
Maria Consuelo Loera, El Chapo’s mother, leaves the US embassy in Mexico City in 2019 after applying for a visa to visit her son.

Like El Chapo, José and his neighbors learned how to grow weed and opium from their fathers, using tried-and-true methods to grow the crops on little plots of land in the hills above their village. In the early 2000s, José was working an area of land roughly equal to the size of about five football fields. The area was under the protection-or the control-of El Chapo, to whom José and other growers paid a 30% tax in exchange for protection from the soldiers who might otherwise raid the area, burning crops and sending months of work up in smoke.

For several years after the escape from Puente Grande, José did not meet the man to whom he paid taxes. But that finally changed in 2005, when, short on funds, he decided he wanted to make a proposition. A friend agreed to make the introduction, and they drove together up the highway, onto the dirt road, and on to La Tuna. When El Chapo received them, José made his proposal: What if El Chapo covered the expense of planting, and then they split the eventual profit fifty-fifty?

El Chapo readily agreed; that’s just the kind of guy he was, José recalled.

“He was a very simple man, and very natural,” José said. “You just felt like talking to him, never found him to be aggressive.”

The relationship between trafficker-strongmen and the people who grow opium and weed is rarely an even one, and can sometimes be downright feudal: Growers rarely have much choice in whom they sell to, so the people buying are able to set the asking price. The exchange is one of constant negotiation, and often features a certain degree of coercion-whether through the direct threat or deliverance of violence, or through the local boss withdrawing his protection and opening the farmer up to the full fury of a state that is, technically, dedicated to wiping out the farmer’s livelihood.

A small white and red church is seen in a lush and hilly stretch of land.
A cemetery known for the many prominent narco-traffickers who are buried there sits on a hilltop in Santiago De Los Caballeros, in Mexico’s in Sinaloa state.

Until very recently, small-time, self-employed farmers like José formed the backbone of the opium and marijuana industries. (This status quo has been upended in recent years as widespread legalization of marijuana in the United States and the introduction of synthetic opioids like fentanyl into the heroin supply have caused prices of both crops to plummet.)

As in any good capitalist system, farmers did most of the work, and were exposed to the most risk at the hand of the state. It pays well, better than most legal work; but by the time a stamp of heroin or a dime bag of weed has been sold on the streets of New York or Philadelphia, only about 1% of the total profits find their way back to the farmer.

The real profits, the billions of dollars that flow from the street sales to the money launderers to the front companies and bank accounts of traffickers, don’t trickle all the way down to little villages nestled in the mountains of Sinaloa or Guerrerro, or to the streets of the border towns through which the drugs pass on their way north. But it’s on the heads of these small-timers that most of the violence of the drug war falls.

Origin stories of the drug trade in Sinaloa often highlight the region’s legacy of upheaval, banditry, and rebellion. But early drug-trafficking clans of Sinaloa were hardly treated as outlaws.

The Mexican sociologist Luís Astorga writes that early Mexican drug traffickers emerged from within the state power structure, rather than as actors outside of it. They came along at a time when that power structure itself was just taking shape, and managed to negotiate for themselves a cozy little cubby within it, one that worked for the state, for the wealthy elite, and for the drug traffickers and cultivators. To a more limited extent, it also worked well for the poor peasants living in areas like Sinaloa.

There is a proud tradition of independence and autonomy in the Sierra, and the drug trade allowed the people of the Golden Triangle to continue to fend mostly for themselves without posing a true threat. The drug traffickers who came before El Chapo acted as local power brokers, playing a key role as unofficial intermediaries between the government and the people of the Sierra. The government allowed them to get rich trafficking drugs as long as the traffickers kept a relative peace in rural areas and made sure the local peasants showed up to vote for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

A man faces the camera wearing a black button-down short.
The author Noah Hurowitz

José and others in the highlands of Sinaloa talk of those years right after El Chapo’s escape as something of a Golden Age, when you knew who ran things and you could look the boss in the eye, make a deal with him, and then have a pleasant chat. As this went on, El Chapo would often pay José, who played in a band in his spare time, to perform at his parties. It felt good to hang out with a guy like El Chapo, José said, to be in the presence of someone regarded in these parts as a great man.

“He is a legend, truly, a legend,” José said. “It was a privilege to speak with him, to have a friendship with him like I did.”

Even if José was giving the sanitized-for-gringo-reporters version, many people in the mountains of Badiraguato knew only this side of El Chapo, the magnanimous local chieftain. This area of Sinaloa was, for many years, spared the violence that the drug trade-and the war on drugs-wreaked on other areas of Mexico. And when violence did arrive, it usually came in the form of the heavy hand of the state, rather than the cruelty of narco hit men.

But even as El Chapo was spreading his goodwill around his hometown and surrounding villages, he and his allies were inflicting violence elsewhere. For when El Chapo arrived back in La Tuna in 2001 and began to rebuild his empire, he was a man hell-bent on revenge.

* * *

Excerpted from El Chapo: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Drug Lord, published by Atria, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Copyright © 2021 by Noah Hurowitz.

Noah Hurowitz is a journalist based in New York City. He covered the trial of El Chapo for Rolling Stone.

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An increase in Airbnb rentals is linked to more crime in some Boston neighborhoods, a new study finds

An increase in crime in certain neighborhoods in Boston was linked to an increase of Airbnb rentals in the areas over the span of several years, a new study found.

An uptick in violence in certain neighborhoods in Boston appears to be linked to an increase of Airbnb rentals in the areas over the span of several years, according to a study published this month.

The study was published July 14 by researchers at Northeastern University in Boston, reported on Friday.

Because the increase in violent crime occurred several years after Airbnb rentals were introduced to the area, the researchers linked the uptick in crime to a disruption in the social dynamic in the communities created by the increase in short-term rentals, and not to an increase in tourism.

“Airbnb prevalence in a neighborhood appears to be associated with increases in violence, but not with public social disorder or private conflict,” the study found.

Representatives for Airbnb did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment Saturday.

There were more than 6,000 Airbnb rentals in Boston in 2018, according to the research, more than double the number the city had in 2014, the study said.

“What’s interesting about social organization is that it’s not really about going over to each other’s houses for backyard barbecues, it’s not knowing all your neighbors” Daniel O’Brien, one of the researchers who conducted the study, told “It’s as little as being familiar strangers.”

Airbnb in a blog post last week appeared to defend itself against claims presented by the researchers.

“The study examines a handful of districts in Boston only, and then extrapolates that into nationwide generalizations without providing detailed evidence,” the company said.

Airbnb also claimed researchers used “inaccurate data” and a “flawed methodology” to reach their conclusions, arguing that researchers didn’t control other variables, like new construction in neighborhoods and the “overall economic conditions.”

“Over the last year-plus, various reports indicate the unfortunate trend that crime has risen in many American cities (even as travel and tourism, including short-term rentals, have suffered in urban markets). There are many complex issues that contribute to rises and falls in crime rates that require serious research to help inform and guide public policy work,” the company said in the blog post.

It added: “As a society, we should be working to advance serious research. In this context, Airbnb will be formally reaching out to Northeastern University to express our concerns about the lack of academic rigor in this paper and learn more about the protocols the University applies to assure the quality of the research performed by those associated with the school.”

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Sen. Tom Cotton said the US, which has the highest incarceration rate in the world, has an ‘under incarceration problem’

Tom Cotton
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., interrupts a fellow senator during a confirmation hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee for CIA nominee Gina Haspel, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, May 9, 2018 in Washington.

  • Sen. Tom Cotton tweeted Friday that the US has an “under incarceration problem.”
  • The US has more incarcerated people per 100,000 residents than any country on Earth.
  • Cotton was talking about the recent spike in crime occuring in some US cities.
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Sen. Tom Cotton said Friday that the country that incarcerates more people per capita than any other has an “under incarceration problem.”

Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, tweeted a clip of himself speaking on Fox News about the increase in crime currently happening in some US cities.

“This is all a result of naive and foolish policies that are letting prisoners out of jail early sometimes because of false claims that we have an over incarceration problem in this country or exaggerated fears about the coronavirus,” Cotton said.

Read more: The ‘crime surge’ is both overhyped and underappreciated

He tweeted along with the video: “We’re facing a historic crime wave and Democrats are advocating for violent, repeat felons to be let out of jail early.”

“We have an under incarceration problem,” he added.

The US has more prisoners per 100,000 residents than any country in the world, according to data compiled by the World Prison Brief.

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Thomas Barrack told a UAE official that Trump considered appointing him ambassador to the country and ‘give Abu Dhabi more power’: prosecutors

thomas barrack
Thomas Barrack, executive chairman, Colony Northstar, speaks at the Milken Institute’s 21st Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S. May 1, 2018.

  • Trump considered making Thomas Barrack the UAE Ambassador, according to messages obtained by prosecutors.
  • Prosecutors arrested Barrack Tuesday on charges of trying to influence US foreign policy on the UAE’s behalf.
  • Trump appointing Barrack would “give Abu Dhabi more power!” Barrack told a UAE official, prosecutors allege.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Thomas Barrack – the Donald Trump associate arrested Tuesday on charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent – told an official of the United Arab Emirates that the ex-president considered appointing him as the US ambassador to the UAE and that the move would “give Abu Dhabi more power!” according to court documents filed by prosecutors.

On Tuesday, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn charged Barrack with seven felony counts. Barrack was the chairman of former President Trump’s inaugural fund as well as a campaign advisor following decades of work together in the real estate industry.

Prosecutors also charged Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, a UAE official, as well as Matthew Grimes, a US citizen, in the indictment. Justice Department officials said the group conspired to influence US foreign policy with regards to the UAE, and that Barrack lied about their activities to the FBI.

A spokesperson for Barrack told Insider he planned to plead not guilty. Prosecutors said in a press release that Alshahhi remains at large.

In April 2017, according to charging documents, Barrack told Alshahhi that he spoke to Trump. Trump discussed whether to appoint his longtime friend as the US ambassador to the UAE or as a Special Envoy in the State Department for the Middle East, Barrack said, according to prosecutors.

Barrack said that either appointment “would give Abu Dhabi much power!” according to prosecutors.

According to prosecutors, Alshahhi praised Barrack for a “very effective operation” in persuading Trump. Alshahhi also told Barrack that senior UAE officials “loved the idea” of Barrack as an ambassador or envoy and would support it, prosecutors said.

Barrack’s company Colony NorthStar raised more than $7 billion the year following Trump’s inauguration, with 24% of that money coming from the Persian Gulf, according to the New York Times.

Trump ultimately left the UAE ambassador post vacant for two years, nominating former construction executive and Republican fundraiser John Rakolta to the position in May 2018. He also appointed a former Trump Organization lawyer, Jason Greenblatt, as a special envoy to the Middle East. Barrack had not taken a position in the US government before Trump left office in January 2017, though according to the New York Times he rejected offers to become Treasury secretary and the US ambassador to Mexico.

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A Miami store manager and dozens of shoppers were injured after being sprayed with bear repellent by a suspected candle thief, police say

bath and body works
A Bath and Body Works store.

  • A man injured at least 30 people by spraying bear mace during a suspected robbery, police said.
  • The incident occurred at Miami International Mall in a branch of Bath and Body Works.
  • Dozens were injured following the incident and one store manager was hospitalized.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A suspect in Doral, Florida, escaped from Miami International Mall after spraying customers with bear repellent before stealing candles from a store, police said.

The incident occurred on July 17 at around 4 p.m EDT, according to authorities. Police said the suspect stole two bags of scented candles from homeware chain Bath and Body Works. They then sprayed the manager of the store directly in the face before fleeing, NBC 6 first reported.

At least 30 people were injured, which included 15 Bath and Body Works employees, customers and mall shoppers outside the store, Doral police spokesperson Rey Valdes told CNN.

The manager of the store was hospitalized following the incident, according to Valdes.

“We started coughing, actually, where we were and we weren’t even that close,” a mall shopper told NBC 6. “We felt it. We could smell it. We could breath it.”

Doral Police and Miami International Mall did not immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment.

Authorities said that each injured person could be considered a victim of aggravated battery, according to CNN.

Commenting on the incident, Valdes told the outlet: “This is one of those ‘only in Miami’ stories.”

The suspect was last seen exiting the mall in a yellow taxi, according to Valdes. He has not yet been identified by authorities.

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Colombians accused in Haiti assassination were once trained by the US military, Pentagon says

Armed police officers stand in front of a mural of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse
Armed police in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

  • A “small number” of Colombians detained in the assassination of Haiti’s president received US military training, the Pentagon told The Washington Post.
  • They received the training while they were active members of the Colombian Military Forces, the Pentagon said.
  • It’s unclear when the training took place or how many of the suspects took part in it.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A “small number” of Colombians detained in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse had previously received US military training, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

“A review of our training databases indicates that a small number of the Colombian individuals detained as part of this investigation had participated in past U.S. military training and education programs, while serving as active members of the Colombian Military Forces,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Ken Hoffman told The Washington Post.

It’s unclear how many Colombians had the training as well as when the training to place, though Colombia is a US military partner and its military members have received training and education for decades, The Post reported.

Hoffman told The Post that the Pentagon is reviewing its training databases.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Haitian police have said that 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans are among the suspects in Moïse’s assassination.

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Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg started quitting his positions with the company’s subsidiaries days before his indictment

Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg exits after his arraignment hearing in New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., July 1, 2021.
Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg exits after his arraignment hearing in New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., July 1, 2021.

Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg began quitting his positions with the company’s subsidiaries at least a week before the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced a 15-count indictment against him, according to documents obtained by the Washington Post.

The Trump Organization submitted a letter dated June 25 to New Jersey liquor regulators announcing his resignation from the subsidiaries, according to the Post. Weisselberg’s attorneys met with prosecutors on June 24 in a failed attempt to persuade them not to charge him, the Post previously reported.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced the indictment on July 1, accusing Weisselberg and the Trump Organization of a wide-ranging and long-running tax fraud scheme. Weisselberg and lawyers for the former president’s company pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Insider first reported last week on filings in the UK showing that Weisselberg quit his role with one of the Trump Organization’s Scottish golf courses.

Documents filed Friday with the Florida Division of Corporations show he resigned from other subsidiaries as well. The Post identified 54 different subsidiaries from which Weisselberg resigned overall.

Prior to the indictments, prosecutors tried without success to “flip” Weisselberg into cooperating with their larger, ongoing investigation into the Trump Organization’s finances.

In addition to the tax charges filed against Weisselberg and the company, Manhattan prosecutors had been reviewing whether the Trump Organization broke financial laws by misrepresenting property values for favorable tax, loan, and insurance rates, or by facilitating a hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels over her claims that she had an affair with ex-President Donald Trump.

Lawyers for Weisselberg and representatives for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

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Ex-solider colleague of accused Haiti assassins: ‘There has to have been a conspiracy’

Haiti Jovenel Moise and wife Martine Moise
Jovenel Moïse and his wife Martine Moïse in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on November 28, 2016, after he won the country’s 2016 presidential election.

  • A former solider who was a colleague of the Colombian mercenaries suspected of assassinating the Haitian President says he doesn’t believe the men he knew were the killers.
  • He told Reuters that he and the other Colombian men were hired as bodyguards.
  • He said there “has to have been a conspiracy.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A former solider who was a colleague of the Colombian mercenaries suspected of assassinating Haitian President Jovenel Moise says he doesn’t believe that the men he knows were the killers.

Haitian authorities have said 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans were behind Moise’s killing, but Matias Gutierrez, a retired special forces sniper who now works in security, told Reuters that he and the other Colombian men were hired as bodyguards.

“It wasn’t our commandos. There has to have been a conspiracy,” Gutierrez told Reuters. “Their extraction was total chaos. Why? Because they weren’t going on an assault, they went in support of a request by the security forces of the president.”

Gutierrez said he was not with the group last week because he tested positive for COVID-19.

Moise was killed in his home in the early morning of July 7. A motive for the president’s killing remains unclear.

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A McDonald’s manager had a gun pulled on them after 2 customers complained about the amount of salt on their fries

jetcityimage/Getty Images
A McDonald’s Restaurant.

  • Two individuals were arrested for allegedly pointing a gun at a McDonald’s manager in Texas.
  • Police said the incident occurred after a verbal altercation about the salt on their fries.
  • The pair were charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon following the incident.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Texas police arrested two individuals for allegedly pointing a gun at a McDonald’s manager in a dispute over the amount of salt on their fries.

The alleged incident occurred on July 4 at a McDonald’s restaurant north of Houston, The Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office said in a statement.

Authorities said that video surveillance and multiple witnesses caught the suspects pointing a firearm at the manager during a verbal dispute at the drive-thru section of the restaurant.

Davion Guillory, 23, and Trykia Cohen, 25, were later charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, police said.

After the altercation, the pair drove off, but authorities were able to track down the car and detain them, per the police statement. Constable Mark Herman said that each individual was bailed on a $10,000 bond.

Herman added that Cohen was already out on probation for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon when the incident occurred.

McDonald’s did not immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment. Guillory and Cohen could not be reached for comment.

In a separate incident in July, a McDonald’s manager in Missouri lost an eye after an ex-employee’s father attacked him with a rake.

In another incident, police in Memphis said they arrested two customers for starting a shooting at Burger King because their chicken sandwich had too much hot sauce in it, Insider reported.

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Video reportedly shows the aftermath of Haiti president’s assassination

A screengrab from a video showing the aftermath of the Haiti assassination
A video reportedly shows security responding after the president of Haiti was assassinated early Wednesday

  • Video from outside the home of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse reportedly shows the aftermath of his assassination.
  • A number of people can be seen with guns standing outside following the attack.
  • Moïse was assassinated early Wednesday morning at his home.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Video from outside the home of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse reportedly shows a large security response following his assassination early Wednesday morning.

The video, first obtained by Journal la Diaspora and posted by the Miami Herald, shows a number of people with guns standing on a dark street after the attack.

The clip also appears to show someone lying in the middle of the street.

Moïse was killed at around 1 a.m. local time by a group of unknown assailants, Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in a Wednesday statement.

The first lady, Martine Moïse, was also injured in the attack, the statement said.

Joseph has not publicly identified the assailants but said some of them spoke Spanish.

In another video obtained by the Miami Herald, a person can be heard shouting in English, “DEA operation” and “stand down.”

The Miami Herald reported that the assassins were mercenaries and that the US Drug Enforcement Agency was not involved, citing a high-ranking Haitian official.

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