Earlier this month, four public officials were charged for their suspected roles in the brazen escape of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, bringing the total number of officials involved to 20, InSight Crime reports.
Amid these charges, Mexico’s interior ministry has been accused of hiding a video with sounds of power tools and digging, proving that Altiplano prison staff knew of Guzmán’s planned escape, EFE Agencia reports.
“The video exists and is crucial in identifying the level of complicity in [El] Chapo’s escape,” secretary of the Mexican Congress’ Bicameral Committee on National Security, Senator Alejandro Encinas, told EFE Agencia.
“[Prison employees] responsible for monitoring [Guzmán] have been formally charged in recent days, but that’s not enough because the mere fact that the sound of a power drill was heard means there were several levels of complicity,” he added.
At approximately 8:52 p.m. on July 11, Guzmán slipped
through a perfectly placed hole in the blind spot of a lone security camera in his L-shaped prison cell.
The entrance to Guzmán’s custom-built labyrinth was
a 1 1/2 foot by 1 1/2 foot gap in the shower floor which led to a 32-foot ladder into a mile-long tunnel.
Thecustom-built 5 1/2 feet high and 2 feet 7 inch wide tunnel (one inch taller than Guzmán’s height) was illuminated and equipped with a ventilation system.
A motorcycle built onto the rails was also placed in the sophisticated passage to transport Guzmán across the tunnel quickly.
The end of the tunnel opened up to a nondescript abandoned home that is at least a half a mile away from any other building.
Currently, the only footage released by the Mexican government is a silent clip of Guzmán pacing around his prison cell before disappearing into his custom-built tunnel.
However, El Proceso, a weekly Mexican news magazine reported that an internal document from the Prosecutor General of the Republic (PGR) revealed the existence of security camera footage with audio.
According to Proceso, “the blows of metal against concrete are heard in Guzmán’s cell minutes before he disappeared from view of the security camera.”
This information prompted Encinas to request access to the full recording with audio, which is held by Mexico’s Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN), the equivalent to America’s CIA.
“Fifteen days ago, I received a verbal response from the deputy government secretary, Felipe Solis Acero, in which he told me it wasn’t possible to provide me with a copy of the video because it was part of a preliminary inquiry, a response that I was expecting but which also means that the video exists,” Encinas told EFE Agencia.
The families of the missing students continue to demand clarification about the government’s investigation. So far, the Mexican government has only been able to identify the remains of one of the missing Ayotzinapa students.
“There’s many, many disappeared. There’s thousands who have disappeared … the government does not work for us. I am so pissed off at this government that we have,” said
Blanca Luz Nava Velez, the mother of a disappeared student.
What’s more, Guzmán is a master of tunnels and has already escaped from a maximum security penitentiary before.
On January 19, 2001, Guzmán cut his 20-year-sentence short and was successfully smuggled out of Puente Grande. Some authorities believe Guzmán bribed prison workers to dismantle security cameras, hide him in a laundry cart, and then wheel him onto a truck — allowing him to disappear for 13 years.
However, both of the prisons Guzmán escaped from have shockingly similar layouts.
Therefore, Dámaso López, a former employee of the Puente Grande prison, is a prime suspect in the investigation into Guzmán’s latest escape,The New York Timesreports, citing a senior Mexican law-enforcement official.
Authorities believe López may have stolen a copy of the prison’s blueprints before leaving his post at Puente Grande.
“López is believed to have close knowledge of the layout of the prisons and security procedures,” The New York Times reports. “The tunnel makers may have also had the GPS coordinates for Mr. Guzmán’s shower stall.”
And considering both prisons have the same layout, the stolen blueprints from 2001 could have tremendously aided Guzmán’s escape from Altiplano.
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