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Drug lord escapes through tunnel

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman who escaped from a maximum security prison for the second time late on Saturday. Photo: AP

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman who escaped from a maximum security prison for the second time late on Saturday. Photo: AP

Mexico’s top drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman escaped through an elaborate tunnel in his cell, a security official said early yesterday.

Security Commission Monte Alejandro Rubido said the tunnel was nearly 5,000ft long and had ventilation and stairs.

Officials also found a motorcycle that was used to remove dirt, Rubido said. The escape, late on Saturday, was Guzman’s second from a maximum security prison in Mexico. Eighteen employees from various part of the Altiplano prison 55 miles west of Mexico City have been taken in for questioning.

A manhunt began immediately late on Saturday for the head of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel. Yesterday roads were being heavily patrolled by Federal Police with numerous checkpoints and a Blackhawk helicopter was seen flying overhead. Flights were also suspended at Toluca airport near the penitentiary in the State of Mexico, and civil aviation hangars were being searched.

The escape was Guzman’s second from a maximum security prison

Guzman was last seen about 9pm on Saturday in the shower area of his cell, according to a statement from the National Security Commission.

After a time, he was lost by the prison’s security camera surveillance network. Upon checking his cell, authorities found it empty and there was a 50-by-50 centimetre hole near the shower.

Guzman’s escape is a major embarrassment to the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto, which had received plaudits for its aggressive approach to top drug lords.

Since the government took office in 2012, Mexican authorities have captured or killed six of them, including Guzman.

Guzman faces multiple federal drug trafficking indictments in the US as well as Mexico, and was on the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s most-wanted list.

After Guzman was arrested on February 22 2014, the US said it would file an extradition request, though it is not clear if that happened.

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