Alternate Theories for El Chapo’s Escape Involve Look-alikes, Assassination, and Broken Promises

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Picture of the alleged tunnel through which Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman could have escaped. Photo: YURI CORTEZ

The State Department announced yesterday that it is offering $5 million for any information on Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the drug kingpin who escaped from a Mexican maximum-security prison last month.

Mexicans — who have been busy building a reserve of alternate theories for the disappearance, according to the New York Times — may or may not be helpful in this search. According to many people talking about the Sinaloa drug cartel leader — who assume the government must have had something to do with all of this — he probably didn’t abscond through a mile-long tunnel with a escape hatch in his prison shower. What if he was never in the prison in the first place? What if a look-alike was being imprisoned instead? What if El Chapo went into prison voluntarily to avoid being killed by other cartels? What if the tunnel was just some bread and circuses to distract the public? One man told the Times, “You can see the tunnel is old. It’s not new. This is all a spoof to keep people entertained.”

Regardless of what people think of the truthiness of the actual escape — El Chapo’s second — Chuck Rosenberg, acting head of the Drug Administration Agency, thinks “he is still in Mexico.”

Although he admits he has no idea either. “Do I know that? No, I do not know that. Where is he safest and best protected, probably Sinaloa.” He also noted that the U.S. government was frustrated with its Mexican counterpart, too — although perhaps not as much as the people living with it. “We have sources in Mexico we can work closely with,” Rosenberg said when talking about information being shared between the two countries. “It doesn’t extend throughout the entire government.”

The Tale of a Thousand El Chapo Escape Theories