By Peter Lesser (staff@latinospost.com) | First Posted: Feb 22, 2013 10:41 AM EST

Mexico's most-wanted drug lord is believed to have been killed in a shootout in rural Guatemala (Photo : Flickr)

The man known as the world's most powerful drug lord, Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzman, has allegedly been gunned down in a gang related gun battle in Peten, Guatemala. As of now, Guatemalan authorities have not officially confirmed Guzman's demise, but they suspect the 58-year-old head of the Sinaloa cartel to be among the bodies left after the shootout, according to Sky News.

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Several witnesses have told authorities that one of the two men found dead closely resembled the drug lord, yet much uncertainty still remains. Government spokesman Francisco Cuevas said they were waiting on "technical information" to determine the death of Guzman and later said authorities had not found any bodies.

Authorities are currently searching to area to locate the scene of the shootout for further information, but the task proves difficult due to the remoteness of the region. Peten is a small, isolated jungle province inhabited mostly by farmers.

Guzman, also know as 'Shorty Guzman,' is one of America's most wanted criminals. He's been considered Mexico's most powerful drug lord for the greater part of the 21st century and has repeatedly been named one of the world's most powerful people by Forbes with an estimated net worth of $1 billion.

Guzman has been on the lam since 2001 after he escaped from a Mexican prison in a laundry cart. Since then, many say he has surpassed the notoriously ruthless drug lord of the 1980s, Pablo Escobar, in regards to the size of his operation and status among the Mexican cartel.

Authorities have stressed that they have only received reports of the gun battle and information concerning Guzman's death from locals. Investigators continue to search the area in hopes of finding stronger evidence.

If Guzman is confirmed dead, it would prove to be a major victory in America's war against drugs. But the Sinaloa cartel is one of the most powerful in Mexico. With such an established organization, there's always someone else ready to step in and take command. With the fall of one man comes the rise of another. 

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