In an exclusive interview for Rolling Stone magazine, American actor Sean Penn met with the leader of one of the world’s largest drug empires, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, whose second brazen prison escape from Mexico’s most-fortified prison led Penn to say, “It was this president of Mexico who had agreed to see us.”
Ahead of Guzmán’s recapture, the pair met in an unnamed Mexican jungle nearly three months after the Sinaloa cartel boss slipped through a hole in his cell’s shower floor and down a mile-long custom-engineered tunnel system.
Once again proving he deserved the title of “master of tunnels,” Guzmán’s sophisticated subterranean network was equipped with all the hallmarks of his cartel’s “narcotúneles” — a
ventilation system made with PVC piping, arched ceilings, electric lights, and a motorcycle modified to run on rails.
“I think it’s a very small group of elite members of the cartel that are doing this. This is highly sophisticated work,” Sherri Hobson, a federal prosecutor in California, told The New Yorker.
“A lot of people think that you have a shovel and you dig. That’s not the way it works,” Hobson added.
According to Penn’s interview, Guzmán flew a team of tunnel engineers to Germany for three months of extensive training before he used the hidden passageway underneath Altiplano prison.
The entrance to the estimated $50 million (including bribes and construction) escape route was
placed perfectly in the blind spot of his cell’s only security camera, which investigators assert
could have only been done with the collusion of prison guards and officials.
Dámaso López, a former employee of Puente Grande, another Mexican maximum-security prison that held Guzmán prior to his 2001 escape, is a prime suspect in Guzmán’s Altiplano escape, The New York Times reports.
Authorities believe López may have stolen a copy of Puente Grande’s blueprints before leaving his job at the prison.
Considering both prisons are shockingly similar in layout, the stolen blueprints from 2001 would have tremendously aided Guzmán’s accomplices in helping him escape.
“The tunnel makers may have also had the GPS coordinates for Mr. Guzmán’s shower stall,” The New York Times reports.