Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the legendary boss of one of the world's most powerful drug cartels, was arrested early Saturday in Mazatlan, Mexico.
The kingpin, who infamously escaped a high-security prison in a laundry cart in 2001 and had eluded capture since, was taken without a single shot fired.
A U.S. law enforcement official said that Guzman, accompanied by a female, was captured in a joint operation of Mexican marines and U.S. DEA agents.
The pressure on Guzman's Sinaloa cartel had been mounting for months, with Mexican authorities killing or capturing several of its most brutal lieutenants.
That pressure yielded information, including cell phone and other data, that helped Mexican authorities and U.S. drug enforcement agents track Guzman down.
Mexicon Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said authorities came close to capturing Guzman, believed to be in his mid-50s, earlier this month.
Guzman apparently moved around several Mazatlan homes connected by an elaborate network of tunnels also linked to the city's sewage system.
The doors of the seven homes were reinforced with steel, enabling Guzman to escape via the tunnels before marines could break down the doors.
Murillo Karam said experts had "100%" confirmation of Guzman's identity.
In the mission that brought him in, authorities also seized a weapons cache that included 97 large guns, 36 handguns, two grenade launchers and a rocket launcher.
Mexican government footage (above) showed a handcuffed El Chapo Guzman, with a dark mustache, being escorted by masked marines in Mexico City.
John Torres, a former ranking ICE official, told CNN that information leading to Guzman's capture actually started to develop about five years ago.
After the Arizona arrests of several people connected to the drug cartel, ICE and Homeland Security took the lead as agencies in that investigation.
Phil Jordan, who spent three decades with the DEA and headed the agency's El Paso Intelligence Center, said the arrest represents a huge blow to the cartel.
"Provided he gets extradited immediately to the United States," Jordan noted. "If he does not, then he will be allowed to escape within a period of time."
In Washington, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the arrest "a landmark achievement, and a victory for the citizens of both Mexico and the United States."
"Guzman was one of the world's most wanted men and the alleged head of a drug-running empire that spans continents," Holder said in a statement.
"The criminal activity Guzman allegedly directed contributed to the death and destruction of millions across the globe through drug addiction, violence, and corruption."
A senior administration official described the arrest as "huge" and said it was "a Mexican-led operation, but one with very strong U.S. government support."