For a billionaire druglord, building an elaborate $5 million tunnel to freedom was a familiar and affordable trick. Now, the man who topped the U.S. list of most-wanted fugitives for more than a decade — second for many years only to Osama Bin Laden — is once again in the wind.
Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzmán and his Sinaloa Cartel had an expertise in building tunnels to smuggle drugs from Mexico into the U.S. But this engineering marvel — equipped with ventilation, electric lighting and a motorcycle track — was the Mercedes-Benz of escape tunnels.
Mexican officials estimated the mile-long, 30-foot deep tunnel that began in a prison shower and ended in a home under construction took up to a year to build. It was reinforced with scaffolding and spacious enough for the 5-foot-6 kingpin to stand.
Billionaire cartel leader Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman began his escape at 8.52pm on Saturday.
He entered the shower block at the high-security prison and, unnoticed by any guards, pried open a 50cm by 50cm grill in the floor of the shower block and climbed 32 feet down a ladder into a tunnel below the prison. From there he used a motorbike that was waiting at the bottom for him to ride through the tunnel to freedom.
The remarkable tunnel was complete with air vents, electric lights, emergency oxygen tanks. Although not a tall man – El Chapo means ‘the shorty’ in Spanish – the 5ft 6in gang lord was able to make his getaway standing upright in the 5.57 feet-high tunnel. There was even a motorbike fitted to rails inside the tunnel to help remove the tonnes of earth when it was being built.
Neighbours have reported that a team of no more than four men were involved in constructing the tunnel, but the skilled workers stuck to a gruelling schedule of 10 hours a day for almost an entire year.
The engineers were forced to twice change the direction of the tunnel, in order to avoid the most sensitive areas of the prison, located 50 miles outside of Mexico City.
The underground getaway route carved a nearly mile-long path deep below the prison, before opening into a construction site in Santa Juana, hidden inside a ready-made house that was simple and understated.
Now Mexican kingpin El Chapo has been photographed drinking beer, flying in plane
Life on the run will make a drug lord thirsty.
Escaped Mexican kingpin Joaquin Guzman enjoyed a beer and relaxed in the cockpit of a plane in photos purportedly leaked by El Chapo’s son following the crime boss’ daring prison break.
The taunting pics, posted on Spanish-language site El Blog del Narco, come just two days after Guzman’s Saturday night escape from his cell in a maximum security Mexican prison.
The photos, which haven’t been verified, would be the first of the mastermind since his escape.
He appeared at ease, casually gripping a bottled brew next to a couple of women in one image and chatting with a pilot in the other