The head of one of Mexico’s most prolific, violent and powerful drug cartels is currently on the run after a daring escape from prison that seems more like an overblown Hollywood film than real life.
Known publicly as El Chapo, Jaquin Guzman is considered to be the most powerful drug trafficker in the world. He escaped from Altiplano Federal Prison on Saturday, crawling through a hole in the shower area of his cell block that opened up into a lit and ventilated mile-long tunnel, emerging in a nearby half-built house.
The sophisticated tunnel was equipped with PVC tubing for ventilation and came equipped with an adapted motorcycle on a rail that was likely used to transport tools and earth, as well as transport Chapo to freedom.
This is the second time that El Chapo has escaped from the Mexican prison system and will come as an embarrassment to authorities after attorney general Jesus Murillo Karam had previously said that the possibility of another escape, “Does not exist.”
Chapo originally escaped from prison in 2001, after serving eight years of a 20 year sentence, in an escape that allegedly involved hiding in a laundry cart. Upon his release, Chapo set to work transforming the Sinaloa cartel into one of the largest in the world.
He remained on the run for 13 years and at points his influence was so strong that he was regularly ranked in Forbes’ annual ‘most powerful people in the world’ round-ups, with a reputed net-worth of over $1 billion.
In recent times the US Drug Enforcement has labelled him more powerful, influential, and indeed, dangerous than the notorious Pablo Escobar.
Dealing primarily in the trafficking of narcotics, El Chapo has allegedly imported more drugs into the US than anyone else on record. He was the first person since Al Capone to be listed by Chicago as Public Enemy Number One due to his influence over the cities illegal drug industry, despite there being little evidence to suggest he’d ever even visited the city.