Mexico drug lord Guzman’s escape tunnel is a minor engineering masterpiece

By Tracy Wilkinson | LA Times
July 12, 2015

mexican drug leader excapedThe tunnel stretched a mile long, from the jailhouse shower to an empty building in a cornfield, and was deep enough for drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to stand upright as he made his escape.

A minor engineering masterpiece, some might say, equipped with ventilation, lighting, oxygen tanks, scaffolding and a motorcycle contraption for removing the tons of dirt being excavated.

Guzman, Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, escaped sometime Saturday night from a maximum-security prison through the clandestine passageway, authorities announced Sunday.

He had often used tunnels, as well as bribes and murder, to stay steps ahead of the law during his last decade on the lam. Yet, after his capture last year, the president of Mexico said losing him again would be “unpardonable.”

It is the second time Guzman, head of the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s largest and most lucrative trafficker of heroin, cocaine and marijuana, has been able to flee jail. The first time was 2001, from a different prison, when he famously hid in a laundry cart, and he remained a fugitive — albeit sometimes a public one — until his arrest last year.

Guzman’s escape is a major embarrassment for the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, which has prided itself for having taken down a string of top cartel leaders.

Authorities launched a massive manhunt late Saturday after discovering Guzman’s disappearance from the Altiplano prison about 50 miles west of the capital. Soldiers occupied Mexico City’s international airport and roadblocks were set up at numerous spots in the area.

The search extended across several states and beyond Mexico’s borders.

Read more here: http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-drug-lord-escapes-mexico-prison-20150711-story.html#page=1

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