While the world’s most notorious drug lord calmly stood up and slipped out of one of Mexico’s maximum-security prisons, the two federal agents responsible for monitoring surveillance footage from his cell played solitaire.
Mexican Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN) agents Juan Carlos Sánchez Garcia and José Daniel Aureoles Tabares
were assigned to supervise the every move of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán while he was detained in Altiplano prison.
During a preliminary investigation, both agents gave statements saying that on July 11 at 8:48 p.m., four minutes before Guzmán
escaped through a perfectly placed hole in the blind spot of a lone security camera in his L-shaped cell
, their computer screens were frozen and they both decided to restart their computers, El Universal reports.
The duo also stated they made nearly 30 phone calls to alert officials of Guzmán’s disapperance, to which, no one answered.
The judge presiding over the case felt the synchronous flight of Guzmán and the shutdown of federal monitoring systems was unconvincing and therefore called in a technical expert to give testimony.
According to El Universal, the technical expert concluded that it was impossible for security footage to freeze onscreen as agents Juan Carlos Sánchez Garcia and José Daniel Aureoles Tabares claimed. The same expert found that the agents only made three phone calls to prison staff.
A still from the security camera footage from the office where the federal agents were watching Guzmán purports to show that multiple computer screens were turned off and the agents were playing Solitare, El Universal reports.
It took prison officials a full 18 minutes to reach Guzmán’s cell after finally noticing his escape and it took nearly 3 hours to initiate “code red” which issues an alert to further lock down the prison, contact the Mexican military, and close the nearby airport in Toluca.
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.
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.”
While the response to Guzmán’s escape was mishandled on a number of levels within the prison, Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto, en route to a state visit in France, continued to play dominos after learning of the drug kingpins’ jailbreak.
When Peña Nieto’s staff asked what they should do for the remainder of the flight he responded,
“We are going to finish,” pointing to the dominoes. He then won with fours.
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