Authorities investigate possible involvement of officials in El Chapo's escape

More than 30 employees who were in the prison during the escape are being interrogated to determine if they are involved, among them Valentín Cárdenas Lerma, director of the prison; the deputy director, guards and the medical staff that supplied drugs to Guzmán.
Through a tunnel that opened up to the shower area, the leader of the Sinaloa cartel managed to escape last Saturday from the Altiplano prison in the State of Mexico after spending nearly 16 months behind bars. (Photo: Archive / EL UNIVERSAL)
13/07/2015
11:11
Marcos Muedano
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Mexico's federal government is investigating the support network that allowed the escape of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera from the Altiplano prison in the State of Mexico. All visitors who came to the maximum security prison for nearly 16 months are under suspicion, and the involvement of officials at various levels is also being investigated to determine who could have provided the plans of the prison, classified as national security information.

Through a tunnel that opened up to the shower area, the leader of the Sinaloa cartel managed to escape last Saturday after spending nearly 16 months behind bars.

The last time the prison authorities had contact with him was at 20:52 hrs., when he was in the area of ​​special treatments. When the guards noticed his absence through the video surveillance system, they activated the alert and corroborated that he was not in his cell.

National Security commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said that a tunnel was built for Guzmán to escape prison.

The experts from the Attorney General's Office (PGR) found a gap of about 50 by 50 centimeters (1.6 feet) and 1.5 meter (4.9 feet) deep in the shower area where El Chapo's flight began. From there he used a tunnel made with PVC pipe measuring approximately 1.70 meters high (5.57 feet) and 70 to 80 centimeters (2.3 to 2.6 feet) wide and over 1.5 kilometer (0.9 miles) long. The tunnel had lighting system and a motorcycle attached to rails that was used to extract earth and transport drilling machinery. It ended in a property under construction southwest of the prison, at Santa Juanita neighborhood.

"Furniture and other items were found in the place, indicating the presence of workers or guards," the commissioner said.

More than 30 employees who were in the prison during the escape are being interrogated to determine if they are involved, among them Valentín Cárdenas Lerma, director of the prison; the deputy director, guards and the medical staff that supplied drugs to Guzmán.

Eighteen of them were transferred to the Assistant Attorney General's Office for Special Investigations on Organized Crime (SEIDO).

Nobody noticed the works carried out to build the tunnel even though between July 3 and 5 there was increased activity in the vicinity of the prison because the National Water Commission (Conagua) conducted maintenance work on the aqueducts of Cutzamala System. Five pipes were replaced and another 20 were reinforced with the support of more than 800 workers and equipment such as cranes, excavators and backhoes.

 

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