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How Many Times Did the Mexican Drug Lord Escape Prison?


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Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, aka El Chapo, was one of the most powerful drug traffickers in the world. He founded and led the notorious Sinaloa Cartel, an international organized crime syndicate based in Culiacán in Sinaloa, Mexico.

Chapo’s early career began with a drug lord named Héctor Luis Palma Salazar. He also worked for another kingpin named Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo during the 80s. However, following Félix’s arrest, Chapo founded the Sinaloa Cartel in 1988. Here, he looked over operations that produced, smuggled, and distributed drugs throughout the United States and Europe.

One of the most fascinating techniques he used to smuggle drugs was through using distribution cells and long-range tunnels near borders. El Chapo was first arrested in 1993 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. However, he managed to escape in 2001 after bribing prison guards.

He was arrested again in 2014, but he managed to escape again, this time before his sentencing. El Chapo’s associates dug a tunnel into his jail cell, which he used to flee. In total, the Mexican drug lord managed to escape prison twice.

How did El Chapo escape from prison?

El Chapo’s second prison escape is a rather fascinating story. On July 11, 2015, prison guards last saw the drug lord near the shower area in his cell at around 9 p.m. Personnel reached his cell after failing to appear on the surveillance camera for twenty-five minutes, only to discover him gone.

Upon investigation, they discovered that El Chapo escaped through a one-mile-long tunnel. This tunnel was connected from his prison shower area to a far-away construction site. Moreover, according to CBS News, the tunnel was well-lit, had air ducts, and there was a motorcycle.

After nearly six months of manhunt, El Chapo was finally captured for the third time on January 8, 2016. The news was announced by Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto on the same day as well. El Chapo is currently serving life imprisonment in Colorado’s ADX Florence.

The life of the Mexican drug lord has been the subject of popular culture. As it is, he has been portrayed a few times on television and in literature. Notably, actor Alejandro Edda portrayed Guzmán in the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico.

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