Mexican government has admitted that it mistakenly identified Felix Beltran Leon as the son of the country’s most-wanted drugs lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
On Thursday officials paraded before the media a man they said was Jesus Alfredo Guzman, whose father leads the powerful Sinaloa cartel.
But the arrested man was in fact Felix Beltran Leon, a car salesman, the attorney general’s office said.
The authorities had hailed the arrest as the most important in years.
Known as El Chapo” or “Shorty”, Joaquin Guzman has been in hiding ever since he escaped from prison in 2001.
The Sinaloa cartel controls much of the flow of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine to the United States.
Within hours of the high-profile arrest, doubts had started to be cast on the official version of events.
A lawyer proclaiming to speak for the Guzman family released a statement denying that the suspect in custody was the drug boss’s son.
Mexican government has admitted that it mistakenly identified Felix Beltran Leon as the son of the country's most-wanted drugs lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman
Felix Beltran Leon’s mother then spoke to journalists and denied any link to Joaquin Guzman or the Sinaloa cartel.
It took another few hours, while identity tests were carried out, before the government admitted it had made a huge mistake.
In less than a day, the episode has transformed from an apparent coup against one of Mexico’s biggest drug cartels to a major embarrassment for President Felipe Calderon’s administration, our reporter says.
US agencies, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration, were among those that had applauded the arrest.
On Thursday, the Mexican Navy had said that Jesus Guzman – known as “El Gordo”, or “The Fat One” – was a growing force within his father’s cartel and controlled most of its trade between Mexico and the US, where he was indicted in 2009.
El Chapo was jailed in 1993, but escaped from his maximum-security prison in a laundry basket eight years later.
The US state department has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest.
If nothing else, the debacle goes to underscore how murky and confused the world of drug cartel arrests and government intelligence has become in Mexico.
With few recent photos of the main players in the drug world available, there may be more such cases of mistaken identity to come for the Mexican armed forces.
More than 55,000 people have died in Mexico in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the cartels nearly six years ago.
Pope Benedict XVI has arrived in Mexico, being greeted by thousands in central city of Guanajuato, and welcomed by President Felipe Calderon.
The Pope is at the start of his first visit to Spanish-speaking Latin-America.
President Felipe Calderon said the visit had enormous importance as Mexico was suffering greatly from drug-related violence.
Before his arrival, the Pope said it was vital “to fight this evil” and urged the young to renounce drugs. After Mexico, he will travel to Cuba.
Pope Benedict XVI said Marxism there was no longer working.
He said the ideology no longer corresponded to reality and called for “new models” to be found.
The Pope made it clear that “the Church is always on the side of freedom of thought and of religion”.
Pope Benedict was welcomed by cheering crowds at Guanajuato on Friday. Supporters at the airport chanted: “Benedict, brother, you are now Mexican!”
The pontiff then led a short blessing on a specially erected platform within the airport.
Pope Benedict XVI was welcomed by the Mexican President Felipe Calderon
All day under a hot sun, thousands of cheering followers – dressed in white and yellow T-shirts and waving flags – lined the route to the city of Leon to catch a glimpse of Benedict as he passed in the armour-plated Popemobile.
Security is tight – with the federal police and military deployed in large numbers.
Pope Benedict XVI is due to hold talks with President Calderon later on Saturday.
He will also spend time in the city of Silao, near Leon.
On Sunday some 300,000 people are expected to attend Mass, and huge camp sites have been set up to give pilgrims somewhere to stay.
Earlier, while on route to Mexico, Pope Benedict told journalists: “I share Mexicans’ joy and hope but also their anguish and grief,” referring to the country’s drug related violence, which has taken 50,000 lives in the past five years.
One Mexican supporter said: “With this wave of violence that we’re living, not just in individual states but across the country, the Pope’s visit could be a great source of comfort.”
Some 88% of Mexicans – almost 100 million people – are Roman Catholic, and the Pope’s predecessor, John Paul II, was a regular visitor to the country.
Pope Benedict XVI is not regarded with the same affection yet, but there is undoubtedly excitement about the visit among the faithful.
The Pope faces sensitive issues in Cuba.
This week the campaign group Amnesty International reported that life was getting harder for dissidents there.
Earlier this month, activists were evicted from a church they had occupied in the capital, Havana, demanding an audience with the Pope.
In Havana, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said the government was open to opinions that differed from its own, in a reference to the Pope’s comments that Marxism there was no longer working.
Baluarte Bicentennial Bridge, the world’s tallest suspension bridge, was opened in Mexico Thursday, spanning a ravine higher than New York’s Empire State building and Paris’ Eiffel Tower.
Baluarte Bicentennial Bridge is 403 meters or 1,322 feet tall and connects between the northwestern states of Sinaloa and Durango in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains.
Officials with the Guinness Book of World Records were present as was President Felipe Calderon for the opening ceremony.
The world’s tallest bridge features four highway lanes celebrated for cutting transportation time between the two regions by an estimated six hours.
Without including the Empire State Building’s lightning rod, the bridge can easily fit its towering height from head to toe or the height of Paris’ Eiffel Tower which stands at 324 meters or 1063 feet.
Baluarte Bicentennial Bridge is 403 meters or 1,322 feet tall and connects between the northwestern states of Sinaloa and Durango in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains
After four years of construction, the Baluarte Bicentennial Bridge is priced at 2.18 billion pesos or 158.98522 million U.S. dollars.
The bridge is so named as the country celebrates it’s bicentennial independence from Spain which was in 1810.
The Durango-Mazatlan highway newly constructed to reach the bridge cost its own amount of over 20 billion pesos or 1.45858 billion U.S. dollars.
It had been deemed President Felipe Calderon’s most significant transportation project during his six-year term according to the country’s transportation ministry.
“With developments in infrastructure, we’ll continue to achieve the targets established during my term,” President Felipe Calderon said Thursday according to TheAge.com.