DEA knew of “potential” ops to free Guzman, documents reveal

Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:59PM, Source


The United States drug authorities were aware of escape plans by Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, according to DEA documents.


Obtained by The Associated Press, the internal Drug Enforcement Administration documents show the agency knew about "potential operations to free Guzman" right after his arrest last year.


According to AP, the DEA agents did not have any information regarding Saturday night's plan to escape and had notified Mexican authorities in March 2014, around a month after the drug lord was captured.


For a second time, El Chapo, widely deemed as the world's most powerful drug trafficker, escaped the country's most secure penitentiaries through a 1.5 kilometer-long tunnel under in his prison cell's shower area, equipped with ventilation, lighting, and a motorcycle, all put there allegedly without any detection.


Although incarcerated in maximum-security Altiplano prison in central Mexico, the drug lord still provided directions for management of his cartel to his son, Ivan Guzman-Salazar, and other cartel members probably thought the attorneys that visited him or a cell phone provided by a corrupted guard, the documents said.


After his capture, Ivan became "the de facto leader of the Guzman branch of the Sinaloa Cartel" while Guzman's "right-hand man, Damaso Lopez-Nunez" took over one of the four major trafficking organizations that works under the auspices of the larger Sinaloa Cartel, according to the documents, which noted that the new escape "will affect current leadership" of the cartel.


With a massive manhunt yet yielding no sign of Guzman, White House spokesman Josh Earnest offered the US government full support to neighboring Mexico.


Earnest further pointed out that Guzman has also been charged with serious crimes in the US.

The escape of the drug lord is a major blow to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s war on drug cartels.


"This represents without a doubt an affront to the Mexican state," Nieto said Sunday 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."


As head of Sinaloa Cartel, Guzman, who had also escaped prison in 2001, is considered by the Chicago Crime Commission as Public Enemy No. 1, a label applied to gangster Al Capone in 1930.

Original Post

Handout picture released by the Attorney General of Mexico (PGR) shows the alleged end of the tunnel through which Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman could have escaped from the Altiplano prison, at a house in Almoloya de Juarez, Mexico, on July 12, 2015.

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