Top Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, head of the powerful Sinaloa cartel, has escaped from a maximum-security prison for the second time, Mexican officials said as they launched a manhunt.
Guzman was last seen about 9pm Saturday in the shower area of the Altiplano prison, 56 miles outside Mexico City, according to a statement from the National Security Commission. He went to the shower area but security cameras lost sight of him. Upon checking his cell, authorities found it was empty.
A search operation began immediately in the surrounding area and highways. Flights were also suspended at Toluca airport, near the prison.
His Sinaloa cartel empire still stretches throughout North America and reaches as far away as Europe and Australia. The cartel has been heavily involved in the bloody drug war that has torn through parts of Mexico for the last decade, taking at least an estimated 100,000 lives.
Sinaloa is believed now to control most of the major crossing points for drugs at the US border with Mexico.
Guzman was caught by authorities for the first time in Guatemala in 1993, extradited and sentenced to 20 years in prison in Mexico for murder and drug trafficking. He escaped from another maximum-security prison, Puente Grande in western Jalisco state, in 2001 with the help of prison guards. According to legend, he escaped in laundry cart, though there were several versions of the story of how he got away.
Guzman was known for his ability to pay off local residents and even authorities who would tip him off about security operations launched for his capture. He was finally tracked down to a modest beachside high-rise in the Pacific coast resort city of Mazatlan, where he had been hiding with his wife and twin daughters, on 22 February 2014. He was taken in the early morning without a shot fired.
Earlier this year, the former Mexican attorney general Jesus Murillo Karam told Associated Press that sending Guzman to the US, where he is wanted, would save Mexico a lot of money, but keeping him in Mexico was a question of national sovereignty.
He dismissed concerns that Guzman could escape a second time. That risk “does not exist,” Murillo Karam said. He has since been replaced by Arely Gomez as attorney general.
No one is arguing that human nature is base, greedy, and essentially, for sale.
It’s the same, world over, but most advanced cultures subdue this aspect of human nature through cultural tools of self-control and collective obedience to a higher, disembodied semblance of honor.
But Mexico, oh you. Why must you wear this debased nature on your sleeve?