El Chapo tried to free kingpins in Nicaragua and Costa Rica

Joaquín Guzmán unsuccessfully tried to help two Mexican members of the Sinaloa cartel arrested for drug trafficking escape from prisions in Nicaragua in 2007 and Costa Rica in 2008.
El Chapo escaped from prison for the first time in 2001, was recaptured in February 2014 and escaped again on July 12. (Photo: PGR)
23/07/2015
12:28
José Meléndez / corresponsal
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With assault rifles and piles of dollars, Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán unsuccessfully tried to help two Mexican members of the Sinaloa cartel arrested for drug trafficking escape from prisions in Nicaragua in 2007 and Costa Rica in 2008.

On June 20, 2007 a twin-engine plane landed at Managua airport with US$964,000 in cardboard boxes, on the eve of the beginning of a trial against six Mexicans, two Guatemalans and 13 Nicaraguans members of the Sinaloa Cartel.

The 21 criminals were arrested in April 2006 near Managua, when Nicaraguan police discovered a clandestine airstrip to receive cocaine from Colombia.

The cell of the Sinaloa Cartel owned weapons, a farm, vehicles and warehouses to store drugs that were sent from there to Mexico.

The airplane flew from Mexico to Guatemala and then on to Managua and was piloted by José Salvador López Santos, a Mexican citizen arrested in 2006 for "suspicious behavior" after landing in Oaxaca with a plane coming from Nicaragua.

On July 11, 2007 a Nicaraguan court sentenced six Mexicans to 22 years in prison for financing drug trafficking, associating with criminal intent and illegal possession of weapons.

On that day police intercepted a message sent to the drug traffickers in prison explaining that the escape plan failed because the weapons that were going to be used for the "Operación Comando" were seized, including 12 AK-47assault rifles, two M-16 rifles and ammunition.

Also, in June 2008 Costa Rica's police thwarted a plan to free Luis Alberto Magaña Alcaraz, a Mexican citizen arrested in May 2007 in Costa Rica accused of leading a trafficking operation of 2,200 kg of cocaine.

Four Mexicans, including Magaña's wife, were detected when they arrived in Costa Rica by plane. Magaña's wife visited him in jail, but authorities arrested her in San José and she was found to be carrying a false passport for her husband with an immigration stamp dated May 2008 that was going to be used to finalize Magaña's escape.

Magaña, who was sentenced in October 2008 to 10 years in prison along with five other Mexicans and a Colombian citizen, was released on paraole in October 2014.

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