Authorities are scrambling to find Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman after his stunning escape from a maximum-security prison west of Mexico City.
The leader of the Sinaloa cartel stepped into a shower Saturday night, crawled through a hole and vanished through a mile-long tunnel apparently built just for him.
Mexico’s government is offering a reward of up to 60 million pesos ($3.8 million) for information leading to his capture, the country’s attorney general told reporters Monday, releasing what she said was a recent photograph of the cartel kingpin.
The image shows the Sinaloa cartel chief with a shaved head and face — and without the trademark mustache he sported when authorities nabbed him last year.
Mexican authorities released what they said was a recent photograph of escaped drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman as they announced a reward for information leading to his capture.
Mexico’s interior minister said Monday that he’d fired the prison’s director, and he vowed the government won’t stop until Guzman is behind bars again. But right now, the cartel kingpin’s whereabouts are anyone’s guess.
How he did it
Guzman, whose nickname means “Shorty,” has pulled off an elaborate escape from a maximum-security prison before. In 2001, he managed to break free while reportedly hiding in a laundry cart. It took authorities 13 years to catch him — sleeping at a Mexican beach resort.
This time, during his escape from Altiplano federal prison in Almoloya de Juárez, officials believe he took a much more sophisticated route: a tunnel complete with lighting, ventilation and even a modified motorcycle on tracks “that was likely used to remove dirt during the excavation and transport the tools for the dig,” Mexican National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said.
The tunnel began with a 50-by-50-centimeter (20-by-20-inch) opening inside the shower of Guzman’s cell, Rubido said. The tunnel stretched for about a mile and ended inside a half-built house
To pull off the escape, it’s likely the Sinaloa cartel had spent years infiltrating the country’s prison system, a Mexican official told CNN on Monday. Whoever helped in the plot likely had the architectural plans for the prison that pointed them toward the shower area, the official said.
Official: ‘El Chapo’ escape tunnel had motorcycle track 02:49
As authorities detailed the evidence they’d found pointing to Guzman’s escape through the underground passageway, one drug war expert questioned Monday whether the notorious kingpin even used the tunnel at all.
“If he went out that tunnel, it was with an armed escort, most likely a mix of prison guards and his own people, if the past is prologue,” said Don Winslow, who’s tracked Guzman’s career for 15 years and wrote about a fictional version of the famed kingpin’s 2001 escape in his recent novel “The Cartel.”
“My bet is that he went out the front gate, and the tunnel was a tissue-thin face-saving device for Mexican officials, the motorcycle a dramatic improvement over the laundry cart.”
How did Guzman slip by the prison’s extensive network of security systems?
It’s likely prison workers played a role, Mexican Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong said Monday as he announced that he’d fired the prison’s director and other prison officials as authorities continue their investigation.
Guzman, he said, was inside a cell with 24-hour hour closed circuit video surveillance and a bracelet that monitored his every move. The video system, he said, had two blind spots that Guzman exploited. And he left the bracelet behind before he crawled into the tunnel and made his getaway.
$3.8 mil. Reward? I bet he paid a lot more than that to get out……..