New Report Claims 'El Chapo' Ran Sinaloa Cartel From Jail Cell

By McCarton Ackerman 08/27/15

Joaquin Guzman conducted cartel business from his cell with the help of judges and officials.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman
On the run again. Photo via

Infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman successfully escaped the maximum-security Antiplano prison last month, but a new report suggests that he had still been running the Sinaloa drug cartel from his cell.

In a new interview with Telemundo, Mexican journalist Anabel Hernandez made the assertion from court documents she obtained. She said that even behind bars, Guzman still maintained close connections to powerful judges and politicians in Mexico.

While holding “work-related” meetings with “similar professionals who were prison inmates,” he also frequently met with three lawyers who relayed messages to him from the Sinaloa cartel. His chief attorney would relay messages using signs and codes and all of Guzman’s conversations inside the prison were recorded.

However, his treatment inside Antiplano is identical to the preferential status he received while detained at Puente Grande Federal Prison. During his stint, he was given permission to host his family for a vacation, held several parties for friends, and even had female inmates sent over to the prison for his entertainment.

The Mexican government declined to comment on the story for Telemundo, telling them that Guzman’s case is still under investigation. Hernandez, who has covered drug trafficking for decades, conducted the interview from her hometown in Northern California. She was forced to flee Mexico after receiving numerous death threats.

Guzman’s escape through a tunnel last month is even more impressive because his cell was located inside the most secure wing of Antiplano and the prison is seen as the most well-guarded in the country. There was reportedly 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.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.