Daughter: El Chapo Snuck Into US Twice After Escape From Prison
She says he came to California to see her new house and visit family
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2016 2:59 PM CST
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted to a helicopter in handcuffs by Mexican soldiers and marines at a federal hangar in Mexico City.   (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File)

(Newser) – In an exclusive interview the New York Daily News calls "astounding," the daughter of infamous Mexican drug lord El Chapo tells the Guardian her father snuck into the US twice while on the lam from authorities following a jail break last year. It's the first-ever interview given by Rosa Isela Guzmán Ortiz. She says her father, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, made it across the border undetected twice in late 2015 to see the five-bedroom home he bought for her and her children in California and to visit relatives. Guzmán Ortiz wouldn't or couldn't say how her father made it across the border. “I asked him the same, believe me," she says. Guzmán Ortiz, who runs a string of businesses in California, and El Chapo's third wife are both US citizens.

The Guardian notes Guzmán Ortiz's claims "will raise questions about US intelligence and border security" and are "likely to be vigorously contested by Mexican and US authorities." A spokesperson for US Customs and Border Protection tells the Washington Post the agency has "no information" that El Chapo crossed into the US. But the Post states it "wouldn't have been difficult" despite El Chapo being one of the most-wanted men on the planet at the time. Authorities know about dozens of tunnels built under the border by his Sinaloa cartel, and there are likely more. “Everything indicates that El Chapo would be able to visit the US: He’s very smart, he has well-trained operatives, and he has experts in building tunnels,” one author and cartel expert tells the Guardian.