Mexico’s Attorney General Arely Gomez Gonzalez, crouching, looks into the entrance of the tunnel Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman used to escape.
Escaped… Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman at the time of his arrest a year ago.
Guzman has already pulled off one escape from a maximum security prison. The last time Mr. Guzman escaped from prison through bribery and a laundry cart, the warden was removed.
For the first time since his latest capture, on February 22, 2014, Guzman was a free man. The USA wants a joint task force formed with Mexico to track Guzman down again, but thus far Mexico has refused to join it. The picture is getting pretty clear: Mexico put a lot of money into springing El Chapo for some reason, and they clearly don’t want him in USA hands.
A tunnel of such sophistication – with lights, air venting, and the customized motorcycle rigged up on a rail line – would normally take 18 months to two years to complete, said Jim Dinkins, former head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
The footage shows El Chapo – which is Spanish for Shorty – looking behind the wall by his shower, before going back to sit on his bed.
The partition wall in the cell at the Altiplano federal prison, 55 miles west of Mexico City, blocked the camera’s view of Guzman’s escape. After escaping through the hole, he then allegedly climbed down 30 feet, and traveled through a secret mile-long tunnel.
Government officials have maintained that the prison meets the highest worldwide security standards.
Take Badiraguato, a tiny town in the mountains of Sinaloa where Guzman was born and where his mother and some of his children live.
The interior ministry said 101 checkpoints have been placed on the main roads and highways of 21 of the country’s 31 states and the capital to find Guzman, who fled prison on Saturday, July 11.
Guzman had successfully petitioned the National Human Rights Commission asking for the area to remain obscured from view to protect his privacy while he washed.
Mexican authorities released a video of the tunnel on Tuesday It provides footage of El Chapo in his cell, before his escape.
Osorio Chong met with US Ambassador Anthony Wayne, agreeing “to strengthen the coordination and collaboration that exists between the two countries with the goal of recapturing Joaquin Guzman”, the interior ministry said.
The tunnel stretched for about a mile and ended inside a half-built house. “And then not just that person, but every member of their family”.
His Sinaloa Cartel also has been most successful in co-opting officials, said Edgardo Buscaglia, an organized crime expert at Columbia University. The drug empire has allowed Guzman to accumulate a major fortune, which was estimated to be some $1 billion in 2009.