By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
Capturing one of the world’s most wanted criminals shows that Mexico’s security strategy is working, the country’s President said Monday.
Technology and intelligence helped lead authorities to Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman over the weekend, President Enrique Peña Nieto said at an event marking Flag Day in Mexico.
“The apprehension of one of the most wanted drug lords at the international level shows the effectiveness of the Mexican state, but in no way should it be a motive to fall into triumphalism,” he said. “On the contrary, this institutional accomplishment encourages us to move forward, working with passion and energy to demonstrate that, yes, it is possible to achieve a peaceful Mexico.”
Peña Nieto praised collaborations between the military and different parts of Mexico’s federal government.
“This detention reaffirms the commitment that the government has to employ all of its abilities in fighting organized crime,” he said.
When the 47-year-old won Mexico’s 2012 presidential vote, critics expressed concerns that cracking down on organized crime wouldn’t be a priority for his administration and suggested negotiating with drug cartels might be on the table once he took office.
Peña Nieto said his goal was stopping drug violence by addressing the economic and social problems that fuel it.
Since taking office in December 2012, Peña Nieto has talked about fighting cartels significantly less than his predecessor, Felipe Calderon.
But Guzman’s arrest Saturday was a sign that taking down drug lords is still on Mexico’s a agenda.
CNN’s Elwyn Lopez contributed to this report.