Mexican Drug Lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman Escapes Prison Using Tunnel

PHOTO: In this Feb. 22, 2014 photo, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted to a helicopter in handcuffs by Mexican navy marines at a navy hanger in Mexico City.

Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman used a tunnel opening from the shower area inside to escape a maximum security prison for a second time.

Monte Alejandro Rubido, the head of Mexico's National Security Commission, said today Guzman escaped from a prison outside Mexico City shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday. Guzman, who led the Sinaloa Cartel was arrested in February last year.

When guards noticed Guzman could no longer be seen on the prison's surveillance system, they checked his cell only to find an opening in the shower area, said Rubido. The opening led to a tunnel made of PVC pipe that had an adapted motorcycle engine likely used to transport the tools needed to drill the tunnel, he said.

Rubido said 18 prison officials were transferred to Mexico City for question.

Authorities were searching the surrounding area, including highways, and flights were suspended at the nearby Toluca airport.

Guzman was captured in the beach resort town of Mazatlan in February 2014. He was once described by the U.S. Treasury as "the most powerful drug trafficker in the world."

Prior to his arrest, Guzman was on the run for over 10 years after he escaped from another Mexican maximum security prison with help from prison guards in 2001.

Guzman had been a long-wanted figure by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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