High-ranking Sinaloa Cartel member escapes from Mexico City prison
Félix Beltrán also served as a lieutenant for Guzmán Loera’s sons, Jesús Alfredo and Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar - Photo: Henry Romero/REUTERS

High-ranking Sinaloa Cartel member escapes from Mexico City prison

Newsroom/EL UNIVERSAL in English
Mexico City
Kevin Ruiz & Eduardo Hernández
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Víctor Manuel Félix Beltrán is a high-ranking Sinaloa Cartel trafficker and is wanted by U.S. authorities

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Mexico City authorities announced that at least three inmates, who were set to be extradited to the U.S., escaped from a Mexico City prison, known as the Reclusorio Sur.

The criminals who escaped from prison are Luis Fernando Meza González and Víctor Manuel Félix Beltrán; both men are from Culiacán, Sinaloa and Yael Osuna Navarro, from Nayarit. Reports indicate these three criminals are members of the Sinaloa Cartel.

The men were accused of criminal association and crimes against health.

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Local and federal authorities will investigate the case.

Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said the jailbreak took place at 8:30 am. She said authorities will investigate corruption inside the prison and the possible collusion of police officers and officials.

During a press conference, local officials revealed the three men didn't even have access to outdoor areas inside the prison and that although they are dangerous criminals, they were not transferred to a maximum-security prison and were sent to Mexico City instead.

It is believed that between 6 and 10 officials were involved in the escape.

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In 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the designation of Víctor Manuel Félix Beltrán as pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). As a result, all assets of those designated that were based in the United States or were in the control of U.S. persons were frozen, and U.S. persons were banned from engaging in transactions with him.

Taken from the U.S. Treasury Department's website

Víctor Manuel Félix Beltrán is a high-ranking Sinaloa Cartel trafficker, who operated from Culiacán and Guadalajara, Mexico. Félix Beltrán is the son of infamous drug trafficker, Víctor Félix Félix, who transported cocaine and laundered money on behalf of former Sinaloa Cartel leader, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

When his father was arrested in March 2011, Félix Beltrán took over his father’s drug trafficking organization. He is charged with drug trafficking and money laundering in the U.S.

Additionally, Félix Beltrán also served as a lieutenant for Guzmán Loera’s sons, Jesús Alfredo and Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar.

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On January 30, local authorities revealed more details in regards to the jailbreak of dangerous criminals; two of them are alleged members of the Sinaloa Cartel and the other is a confirmed member of the drug cartel.

The criminals fled in an official vehicle at 5:50 am, which wasn’t registered by guards, as it should have been. The official van was set to take a fourth inmate to the Rubén Leñero General Hospital.

Although the vehicle returned to the prison with the inmate who visited the hospital, the final destination of the other three inmates is still unknown.

Prison authorities learned about the escape until 8:00 am.

At least three guards confessed their involvement in the crime. The prison director has been asked to resign. Authorities are investigating over 20 officials.

Reports indicate 8 guards and 22 officials were involved in the jailbreak.

Sources consulted by EL UNIVERSAL added that one of the lines of investigation of the CI-FXH/XO-1/UI-1S/D/0137/01-2020 file is that the inmates wore custodian uniforms and that they possible drove the official vehicle.

In the physical revision made at the prison, it was found that the five gates and doors that led to the fled inmates were unlocked and open.

Investigation elements have added more clues, such as an anonymous report in which allegedly three suspects wearing black shirts were seen at a property in the Iztacalco borough, which further strengthens the hypothesis that the inmates wore official uniforms to flee.

A custodian from the Reclusorio Sur is the main piece of the investigation file of the Anti-Kidnap Office. He headed the operation along with another 10 custodians so that the inmates could get on the back part of the official vehicle that took them out of the prison.

The custodian identified as Roberto “N” was the first to confess the escape of Víctor Manuel Féliz Beltrán “El Vic”, Luis Fernando González Meza, and Yael Osuna Navarro.

Hours after the escape, Roberto had a fight with the deputy director of Penitentiary Centers Security, Fallarbill Castañeda, and that was when he told him he had taken them out of the prison and said that a month before he had received several phone calls to collaborate otherwise he and his family would be killed.

Nevertheless, during the audience, it was revealed that he also tried to co-opt his colleagues from the third shift and authorities from the Penitentiary System who, after the escape, arrived at the prison, according to the declaration of Oscar Labastida Galván.

“Let us go, we have nothing to do, or how much do you want to let us go?” said the accused.

Once the members of the Sinaloa Cartel went down the vehicle, he made several calls, heard by inmate Víctor “N,” who was set to be taken to a local hospital.

The only eyewitness of the escape heard him say “They already noticed back there.” He told the authorities that when he was taken out from his room by a custodian, he was proposed to say “he had fallen asleep” and did not see the escape and that he would receive MXN $200 thousand in exchange. Since he did not accept, he received a death threat.

The escape
Last January 29, 11 custodians from the Reclusorio Sur, helped the members of the Sinaloa Cartel to escape.

The prison break plan began at 19:00 of January 28 when those in charge of the security tours and the control of the rooms left the doors of Area 1 open so that the three inmates could escape at 5:00 of the next day.

Once they were outside, they went to Room 6, where they took out a bar and climbed down to a garden, where they used a stair to jump the wall dividing the room and the customs office of the prison; to do so, they cut a wire mesh.

All these movements in front of Tower 1, allegedly monitored by Emmanuel “N” and Eduardo “N,” who did not report the unusual movements.

On the other side of the wall was an official van manned by Roberto “N,“ Antonio “N,” and Daniel Hiram. Once they left the cells, arriving at the van took them six minutes.

The video surveillance cameras registered how Roberto “N” made weird maneuvers and drove in reverse until a blind spot where the inmates could get on through the back part. Inmate Víctor “N” was already in the vehicle waiting to be taken to the hospital.

The van waited for two minutes and moved to the customs office where custodians Víctor “N” and Miguel “N” allowed its exit without checking it; 50 minutes later, the inmates went down and got on board of another vehicle that helped them to escape.

Until now, 9 out of the 11 custodians have been put under pretrial detention.

The other two custodians were bound to trial for the crime of aggravated prison escape and the investigation was given three months to conclude.



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