Getting on the most wanted list in two countries is no mean feat and staying under the radar while authorities in both countries are actively searching for you is even harder. But for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, he has managed to achieve this and still stay out of jail for more than a decade.
Currently in his early 60s, he is one of the most revered drug traffickers in the world, with his influence usually likened to that of Pablo Escobar. One of the aspects that he is most famous for is escaping jail, which he has managed to do twice in the last 10 years. In the first instance, he is alleged to have been smuggled out of prison using a laundry cart pushed by one of the prison guards. This was back in 2001.
In February, 2014, he was recaptured again following an operation by American marines and was incarcerated in Altiplano prison, which is the most secure in Mexico. However, on July 11 of last year, he escaped from the prison via a 1.5 kilometer tunnel, that started down a hole dug in his cell.
The news of his escape embarrassed President Peña Nieto and his government, and poked holes at the Mexican justice system and its capacity to handle high profile i
ndividuals like him.
But on January 8, he was recaptured again by a division of the Mexican Navy in Los Mochis, Sinaloa. Apparently, communication intercepts had indicated to authorities that someone “big” would be arriving and staying at a house in the area. Trailing one of his associates led them to his exact location. However, the last piece of definitive evidence was a large order of tacos ordered on the night of January 8 to the residence.
It was picked up by someone driving a white van which authorities knew belonged to one of El Chapo’s associates. This was at about midnight. At 4:30 a.m., Mexican navy commandos stormed the residence, leaving five cartel gunmen dead. Escaping via one of the hidden exits that led to into a network of sewer tunnels, El Chapo and Jorge Ivan Gastelum Avila – his chief of security are said to have emerged at a location close to a Walmart and stole a vehicle. Unfortunately, it soon broke down, forcing them to steal another. They were later stopped and apprehended along the Los Mochis-Navojoa highway. This is as reported by Fox News.
Soon after, details emerged that El Chapo seemingly had surgery to alleviate erectile dysfunction. This is according to a source who saw him before his arrest. Apparently, he had scars in “His back, hips and reproductive system.” This is as reported by NY Daily News. The insider revealed this to Reforma, a Mexican newspaper.
That said, the Mexican government has reportedly put measures to prevent the drug lord from escaping again, and they include the installation of motion sensors, reinforced steel floors, and dogs. This is according to CNN. He is also moved to random cells, each day. It is alleged that during the first five days of incarceration, he was transferred seven times.
To keep him entertained, prison officials are said to have issued him with a copy of Don Quixote, a classic book by Miguel de Cervantes. Coleridge once said that its author – Miguel, had reached “the highest creation of genius.” Prison officials are said to have offered it to him because he arrived depressed and tired. Eduardo Guerrero, who currently heads the country’s prison system, offered the following reason for handing him the book: “because we believe it is an excellent book, and we have to start giving him such notions.”
[AP Photo/Marco Ugarte]