Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was once the most powerful drug trafficker in the world, leading the Sinaloa cartel that smuggled tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the United States and other countries. He was also notorious for his ability to evade capture and escape from prison. In 2015, he pulled off one of the most daring and spectacular prison breaks in history, fleeing from a top-security prison in Mexico through a mile-long tunnel that featured a motorcycle on tracks, ventilation pipes and lighting. This article will explore how El Chapo managed to pull off this legendary prison escape and what happened after he got out.
How did El Chapo end up in prison?
El Chapo had been on the run since 2001, when he bribed his way out of another maximum-security prison in Mexico, reportedly escaping in a laundry cart. He remained at large for more than a decade, despite being hunted by Mexican and U.S. authorities, who considered him the world’s most wanted drug lord. He was finally captured in February 2014, after a series of raids by Mexican marines in the city of Mazatlan, where he was hiding in a beach resort. He was taken to the Altiplano Federal Prison, a high-security facility located about 55 miles west of Mexico City. The prison was supposed to be escape-proof, with 24-hour surveillance, reinforced walls and floors, biometric sensors and metal detectors.
How did El Chapo plan his escape?
El Chapo did not waste any time in plotting his escape from Altiplano. According to Mexican authorities, he began working on his escape plan as soon as he arrived at the prison. He used his influence and money to bribe prison officials and guards, who helped him communicate with his associates outside the prison and smuggle tools and materials into his cell. He also had access to a cell phone and a GPS device that allowed him to coordinate his escape route with his accomplices.
El Chapo’s main accomplice was his son Ivan Archivaldo Guzman, who oversaw the construction of the tunnel that would lead El Chapo to freedom. The tunnel was dug from a house located about a mile away from the prison, which was bought by one of El Chapo’s lawyers under a fake name. The house was equipped with electricity, water and ventilation systems, as well as machinery and tools for drilling. The tunnel was about 5 feet high and 3 feet wide, and had rails along which a modified motorcycle could run. The motorcycle was used to transport dirt out of the tunnel and tools and materials into it.
The tunnel also had lighting, ventilation pipes and oxygen tanks along its length. It took about a year to complete the tunnel, which cost an estimated $50 million. The tunnel ended at El Chapo’s cell, where a hole measuring 20 by 20 inches was made under his shower area. The hole was covered by a metal grill that could be lifted by a hydraulic system.
How did El Chapo execute his escape?
On July 11, 2015, El Chapo made his move. He was last seen by prison guards at 8:52 p.m., when he entered his shower area. He then lifted the metal grill covering the hole under his shower and climbed down into the tunnel. He boarded the motorcycle that was waiting for him and rode it to the other end of the tunnel, where he emerged at the house that served as the tunnel’s entrance. There he changed his clothes and got into a car that drove him away from the area.
El Chapo’s escape was not discovered until about an hour later, when prison guards noticed that he had not returned from his shower. They checked his cell and found the hole under his shower area. They then alerted their superiors and launched a manhunt for El Chapo.
What happened after El Chapo’s escape?
El Chapo’s escape caused a huge embarrassment for the Mexican government, which had vowed to prevent him from escaping again after his capture in 2014. The government offered a reward of $3.8 million
What was the reaction to El Chapo’s escape?
El Chapo’s escape caused a huge embarrassment for the Mexican government, which had vowed to prevent him from escaping again after his capture in 2014. The government offered a reward of $3.8 million for information leading to his recapture, and launched a massive manhunt involving thousands of troops, police and intelligence agents. The government also fired several prison officials and guards who were suspected of aiding or allowing El Chapo’s escape.
The escape also strained the relations between Mexico and the United States, which had requested El Chapo’s extradition after his arrest in 2014. The U.S. government expressed its dismay and frustration over El Chapo’s escape, and offered its assistance and cooperation to help Mexico recapture him. The U.S. government also increased its pressure on Mexico to extradite El Chapo once he was caught, arguing that he posed a serious threat to both countries and that he could not be held securely in Mexico.
The escape also sparked outrage and criticism from the Mexican public, who questioned the government’s competence and credibility in fighting corruption and organized crime. Many people also expressed their admiration and support for El Chapo, who was seen by some as a folk hero or a Robin Hood figure who defied the authorities and helped the poor. Some people even celebrated his escape with songs, memes, jokes and piñatas.
How did El Chapo get recaptured?
El Chapo’s freedom did not last long. After his escape, he resumed his activities as the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, but also made some mistakes that exposed his location and movements. One of them was agreeing to an interview with the American actor Sean Penn and the Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, who visited him in October 2015 at his hideout in the mountains of Durango state. The interview was published by Rolling Stone magazine in January 2016, after El Chapo’s recapture.
The Mexican authorities claimed that they were able to track down El Chapo’s whereabouts thanks to the interview, as well as other sources of intelligence, such as phone taps, informants and surveillance. They also said that they had conducted several raids and operations in the areas where El Chapo was hiding, but he managed to evade them until January 2016.
On January 8, 2016, Mexican marines launched a raid on a house in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, where they believed El Chapo was staying. The raid turned into a fierce gun battle that left five of El Chapo’s gunmen dead and one marine wounded. El Chapo escaped through a secret tunnel under his shower area, but was later captured on a highway near the town of Juan José Ríos, after stealing two cars at gunpoint. He was taken to a hotel in Los Mochis, where he was identified and arrested.
What happened after El Chapo’s recapture?
After his recapture, El Chapo was taken back to the Altiplano prison, where he was placed under tighter security measures, such as constant surveillance, frequent cell changes and restrictions on his visits and communications. He was also subjected to extradition proceedings by the Mexican government, which agreed to honor the U.S. request to extradite him on several charges of drug trafficking, money laundering, murder and kidnapping.
El Chapo fought against his extradition for several months, filing appeals and injunctions through his lawyers. He also complained about his prison conditions, claiming that he was being tortured and mistreated by the authorities. He said that he was suffering from insomnia, headaches, anxiety and depression due to the isolation and noise in his cell.
However, his efforts were unsuccessful, and on January 19, 2017, he was extradited to the United States on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration as president. He was flown to New York City on a plane escorted by U.S. marshals and DEA agents. He was then taken to a federal court in Brooklyn, where he pleaded not guilty to a 17-count indictment.
El Chapo’s legendary prison escape in 2015 was one of the most audacious and spectacular prison breaks in history, involving a sophisticated tunnel that cost millions of dollars and took a year to build. It also exposed the corruption and incompetence of the Mexican prison system and government, as well as the power and influence of the Sinaloa cartel. However, it also led to his downfall, as it triggered an intense manhunt that resulted in his recapture in 2016 and his extradition to the united states.
Who is El Chapo? El Chapo is the nickname of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, a Mexican former drug lord and leader of the Sinaloa cartel, one of the most powerful and violent criminal organizations in the world. He is considered to have been one of the most influential drug traffickers in history, responsible for smuggling tons of drugs into the United States and other countries.
How did El Chapo get his nickname? El Chapo means “Shorty” in Spanish, and it refers to his height of 5 feet 6 inches. He was given this nickname by his associates and rivals in the drug trade.
How many times did El Chapo escape from prison? El Chapo escaped from prison twice, both times from maximum-security facilities in Mexico. The first time was in 2001, when he bribed his way out of Puente Grande prison, reportedly hiding in a laundry cart. The second time was in 2015, when he escaped from Altiplano prison through a sophisticated tunnel that led to his cell.
How did El Chapo get caught? El Chapo was caught three times by the Mexican authorities, with the help of the U.S. government. The first time was in 1993, when he was arrested in Guatemala and extradited to Mexico. The second time was in 2014, when he was captured in Mazatlan after a series of raids by Mexican marines. The third time was in 2016, when he was recaptured in Los Mochis after a raid by Mexican marines and a chase on a highway.
Where is El Chapo now? El Chapo is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole plus 30 years at ADX Florence, a supermax prison in Colorado, USA. He was extradited to the U.S. in 2017 and convicted of 10 counts of drug trafficking, murder, money laundering and other crimes in 2019. He was also ordered to forfeit more than $12.6 billion in assets.