Alexandra DiPalma @LSDiPalma

Alexandra DiPalma is a Digital Producer for Fusion.

Jose Diaz-Barajas, one of the most wanted drug traffickers in the U.S., let World Cup fever get the best of him.

Soccer fanatics get crazy during the World Cup. Even highly sought-after drug dealers let their guards down. Jose Diaz-Barajas, a suspected powerful Mexican drug lord, never even made it to the game.

So how did he get caught? He made the mistake of booking game tickets under his own name. We’re not professionals or anything, but it seems like this is a pretty amateur error, especially for someone who makes a living by avoiding the authorities.

Diaz-Barajas, 49, was arrested at Rio de Janeiro’s Tom Jobim airport as he boarded a flight to Fortaleza, where Mexico played Brazil on Tuesday (full recap here).

“Barajas was one of the most sought traffickers in the United States,” Luiz Cravo Dorea, head of international cooperation at the Federal Police, told reporters.

Big international sporting events like the World Cup are great places to nab criminals, according to Mike Vigil, a retired former head of international operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

“A lot of them are big sports fanatics,” Vigil told Bloomberg. “It’s a great time to apprehend these individuals.”

Stay tuned to see whether any other drug lords pop up during the World Cup.

 

 

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