One can only describe the departure of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman from a Mexican prison as an “escape” in only the most academic of terms. Yes, he left prison without express permission from the Mexican government, which had refused repeated demands from the US to extradite him for trial in Chicago. However, as this video report from CBS News shows, Guzman was hardly constrained — and a lot of time, money, and effort went into giving him the easiest escape route possible.
This ain’t exactly Shawshank Redemption:
A newly released surveillance video provided by the Mexican government shows the moment Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman escaped from his Mexican jail cell. It shows the drug kingpin pacing before he disappears from view behind a wall. That’s where he climbed into a tunnel, reports CBS News’ Omar Villafranca.
The sophisticated passageway was outfitted with electricity and ventilation pipes — it even included a motorcycle, which likely ushered the Sinoloa cartel head through the mile-long corridor.
When prisoners manage to tunnel out of their confinement, their tunnels are rudimentary, dangerous, and short. This tunnel resembles those that cross the US-Mexico border, or those in Gaza leading into southern Israel. It’s clear that a number of people tunneled in to get Guzman out, and those people spent a lot of money to do so. Guzman wasn’t going to be able to install electricity and ventilation, after all.
So … why didn’t anyone notice all of this activity? The construction site must have been a cover, but do governments routinely ignore “construction sites” within a mile of maximum-security prisons? Come on, man. The motorcycle was a nice touch, though El Chapo might have gotten a limo had he waited a couple of more days.
In Chicago, prosecutors call Guzman “Public Enemy No. 1” for fueling drug-related violence and gang warfare. That’s why the US leaned so hard on Mexico to get Guzman extradited, especially since — surprise, surprise — he’d escaped from prison before. The US wants a joint task force formed with Mexico to track Guzman down again, but thus far Mexico has refused to join it. The picture is getting pretty clear: Mexico put a lot of money into springing El Chapo for some reason, and they clearly don’t want him in US hands. Why, it’s as if the Mexican government isn’t our ally in the War on Drugs. Go figure.