Mexico’s Biggest Drug Lord Escapes From Prison

Mexico Drug Lord Escapes
Photo: Eduardo Verdugo/© Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, arguably the world’s most powerful drug-cartel leader, has broken out of a maximum-security Mexican prison for the second time. The Associated Press reports that Guzman escaped through a mile-long tunnel that opened into the shower of his cell in Mexico’s Altiplano prison. He had disappeared from the facility’s surveillance system sometime last night. Mexican Federal Police have since set up checkpoints on roads around the prison, and authorities have closed the local airport. In 2001, Guzman escaped a different maximum-security prison with the assistance of corrupt guards and was not recaptured until February of last year, by which point Forbes had ranked him one the most powerful people in the world, with an estimated net worth of more than $1 billion. His Sinaloa Cartel is likely the biggest drug-trafficking organization in the world and has played an instrumental role in the deadly drug wars that have terrorized much of Mexico and Central America for the past ten years. Guzman is also among the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s most wanted criminals, and his extradition to the U.S. had been a possibility. The Altiplano facility, which is a little less than 60 miles west of Mexico City, was supposedly the nation’s most secure prison. Mexican authorities had promised Guzman would never be able to escape again.