Mexican Cartel Kingpin 'El Chapo' Escapes Prison Through Tunnel...Again

By Zachary Siegel 07/13/15

After being in custody for 16 months, Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman escaped from another maximum security prison in Mexico.

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Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman
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In the most secure wing of the allegedly most well-guarded prison in all of Mexico, Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, of the Sinaloa cartel, managed to escape through a tunnel.

This is the second time the Sinaloa boss escaped Mexican custody. Back in 2014, after El Chapo was captured again, Eduardo Medina Mora, Mexico's ambassador to the United States said, "He's locked up in the most reliable prison we have in Mexico and certainly once bitten twice shy.”

"We will take our precautions in this case," Mora said.

According to VICE, which visited the tunnel from where Guzman escaped, precautions in this case did not take into account a “practically custom-built escape tunnel measuring a mile long” leading directly out of the prison. 

Apparently, there was an opening in the shower which led to a mile-long tunnel that led to a construction site in the neighborhood of Santa Juanita. The tunnel was over two feet wide and more than five feet high, tall enough for El Chapo to walk upright to freedom.

In the hours after the prison break, the Mexican government began an exhaustive manhunt, calling for states of emergency in the surrounding areas. They also shutdown the airport in Toluca, a city near the prison. Police and military personnel, armed with automatic weapons wearing body armor, searched vehicles near the prison. At this point, some 30 prison employees are wanted for questioning.

VICE News spoke with many families waiting outside the prison to visit their loved ones inside. "Prisoners here receive extremely harsh treatment and many were scared to even say what was going on inside," said Ericka Martinez, who said she was there to visit her husband.

According to Martinez, Guzman enjoyed many privileges behind prison walls. "We could only visit our family members inside in a hall with others, but he was always allowed to meet his family in private," she said.

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Zachary Siegel is a freelance journalist specializing in science, health and drug policy. His reporting has also appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, Salon, Huffington Post, among others. He writes often about addiction, sometimes drawing from his own experience. You can find out more about Zachary on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.

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