This weekend, the most dangerous drug cartel leader in the world escaped from one of Mexico’s most secure prison facilities…for the second time.

Named “Public Enemy #1” by the Chicago Crime Commission, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has earned his reputation. He is the leader and kingpin of the infamous Sinaloa drug cartel, which specializes in the trafficking of heroin and cocaine. This is the second time El Chapo has managed to escape a Mexican maximum security prison. In 2001, Guzman escaped another facility while serving a 20 year sentence for drug trafficking.

El Chapo managed to escape the Altiplano prison via a tunnel that connected the outside world to the shower in his cell. The tunnel stretched for a mile, and was allegedly built and equipped with lighting, ventilation, and a motorcycle without raising any flags with local authorities.

More via Fox News:

“This represents without a doubt an affront to the Mexican state,” said President Enrique Pena Nieto, speaking during a previously scheduled trip to France. “But I also have confidence in the institutions of the Mexican state … that they have the strength and determination to recapture this criminal.”

If Guzman is not caught immediately, the drug lord will likely be back in full command and control of the Sinaloa Cartel in 48 hours, said Michael S. Vigil, a retired U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration chief of international operations.

“We may never find him again,” he said. “All the accolades that Mexico has received in their counterdrug efforts will be erased by this one event.”

Thirty employees from various part of the Altiplano prison, 55 miles (90 kilometers) west of Mexico City, have been taken in for questioning, according to the federal Attorney General’s Office.

A massive manhunt is underway, but Guzman’s escape will have far reaching consequences for Mexico’s political scene, and relationship with the US:

News that he’d somehow managed to break out again drew sharp condemnation at home from Peña Nieto’s political opponents and abroad from U.S. officials, who’d pushed for his extradition.

“One would have assumed that he would have been the most watched criminal in the world, and apparently, that just didn’t happen. This is a huge embarrassment for the Mexican government,” said Ana Maria Salazar, a security analyst and former Pentagon counternarcotics official. “Obviously it’s going to raise a lot of questions as to what’s happening with the Mexican criminal justice system.”

We’ll keep you posted on the status of the search.


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