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The capture of drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman after nearly six months on the lam was greeted with cheers Friday in Washington.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the arrest in Mexico Friday "a vindication of the rule of law in our countries" and a blow to the drug-trafficking cartel he is alleged to have led.
Guzman famously escaped through a tunnel from a Mexican prison in July. It was the second time Guzman had escaped from a prison in Mexico.
"Guzman’s latest attempt to escape has failed, and he will now have to answer for his alleged crimes, which have resulted in significant violence, suffering and corruption on multiple continents," Lynch said in a statement.
She praised Mexican authorities "who have worked tirelessly in recent months to bring Guzmán to justice." A Justice Department official said Lynch called her counterpart in Mexico, Friday to congratulate her on Guzman's capture.
The Drug Enforcement Administration called the arrest "a significant achievement in our shared fight against transnational organized crime, violence, and drug trafficking" and reaffirmed its partnership with Mexico.
While Lynch did not say whether the government would immediately seek to extradite Guzman to the U.S., where he is wanted on multiple charges stemming from this stewardship of the multibillion-dollar Sinaloa cartel, Florida senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio called for bringing him north to face American justice.
Another Republican, Arizona Sen. John McCain, echoed Rubio's call, urging the Obama Administration to extradite Guzman pronto.
Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto said in an address Friday that the arrest shows "our institutions are good enough. They have the determination."
El Chapo's capture was major victory in the war on drugs, a senior DEA official told NBC News.
"It’s huge," the official said. "I mean, he’s the number one drug-trafficking figure in history and he’s been probably the world’s biggest criminal fugitive. And so it’s a huge win for the rule of law. No one is above it, and it’s great for the government of Mexico and the U.S., and the world."
The U.S. moved to extradite Guzman three weeks before he embarrassed Mexican authorities on July 11 by breaking out of the Altiplano prison near Mexico City.
He was nabbed before dawn Friday in the town of Los Mochis.