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Scale of Drug Lord's Tunnel Escape Was Mind-Blowing

Prison boss gets the boot, along with 2 others
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2015 7:23 AM CDT

(Newser) – Within days of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's arrival at a maximum security prison in Mexico—and perhaps even earlier—work began on the mile-long tunnel he would eventually use to escape, a former drug enforcement official tells the Los Angeles Times. At 5 feet 6 inches high, the tunnel appears to have been made for the 5-foot-5 Guzman, who likely spent $5 million on mining experts and the best equipment for its construction, the ex-official says. But the tunnel could hardly have gone unnoticed, particularly as work began on the 30-foot shaft beneath Guzman's prison shower, from which he would disappear. Officials have the unsurprising suspicion that he had inside help. More:

  • Officials have questioned 49 people, including 34 prison workers regarding the escape. Three have been fired, including the prison director, the AP reports.
  • DEA documents show US agents were aware of a possible escape plan back in March 2014, the AP notes. Officials say they informed Mexican authorities, who argue they were never told of a possible breakout.

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  • Officials say Guzman escaped down a 20-by-20-inch hole in his shower, off-limits to prison cameras, then fled down the tunnel, coming out at a nearby home which had been under construction for five to six months, a local says, per ABC News. An AP reporter notes dirt in the yard reached 2 to 3 feet higher than in other nearby areas, suggesting dirt from the tunnel was spread around the property.
  • Once out of the prison, Guzman's tracking bracelet would have been useless. So where is he now? According to taunting photos posted on El Blog del Narco, purportedly leaked by Guzman's son, the drug lord is enjoying life on the outside. They show Guzman drinking a beer and in the cockpit of a plane, reports the New York Daily News. At least one official, however, believes they could be part of a hoax.
Meanwhile, Ozy reports about a cartel boss it describes as "worse than El Chapo." (Read more Joaquin Guzman stories.)

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