Mexico’s most notorious drug lord, Joaquín “El Chapo,” or “Shorty,” Guzmán Loera, may have escaped from a high security prison several days ago, but details are still coming out about the nature of his escape.
It appears Guzmán Loera may have been using an actual bird to aid in his escape, according to the New York Times and Gawker.
Guzmán Loera escaped from the Altiplano federal prison through a sophisticated subterranean tunnel that was outfitted with lights, air venting, and a customised motorcycle rigged on a rail line. The mile-long tunnel likely took 18 months to two years to complete, according to Jim Dinkins, former head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
The mystery of his escape has deepened after Mexican government officials found a small bird in the trashcan of Guzmán Loera’s cell. Officials believe the bird, which they have nicknamed ‘Chapito,’ was used by Guzmán Loera to test the air quality of the tunnel.
Because of the length and depth of the tunnel — at one point it was as deep as 30 feet — officials suspect that the tunnel builders may have wanted to Guzmán Loera to test the air before escaping to ensure that he didn’t pass out before reaching the end.
The Guzmán Loera escape has rapidly turned into a massive mess for the Mexican government. As Eric L. Olson with the Mexico Institute of the Wilson Center said in The New York Times, the powerful drug lord’s escape was “almost Mexico’s worst nightmare.”
Interior Minister Migual Angel Osorio Chong has said that Guzmán Loera must have had help from prison officials in his escape. In addition, the AP is reporting that the DEA warned Mexico about potential escape attempts by Guzmán Loera as early as March 2014, which went unheeded.
It’s being estimated that the escape may have cost Guzmán Loera $US50 million between the construction of the tunnel and bribes to prison officials, according to Jhon Jairo Velasquez Vasquez, the former chief hitman of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.
On top of everything else, Guzmán Loera escaped in plain sight. A newly released security video shows the exact moment that Guzman escaped, as he approached a shower area in his cell and disappeared into a gap in the floor.
Officials assumed Guzmán Loera was taking a shower. When they thought he was taking longer than usual, they checked on him, but his cell was empty.
All together, it seems as if Guzmán Loera’s escape was the perfect storm of corruption, incompetence, and negligence.
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