Skip to navigationSkip to content
AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File
El Chapo’s capture in 2014.
NOT AGAIN

All the tricks Mexico is trying to keep El Chapo from escaping prison yet again

By Frida Garza

Mexican authorities are trying everything to keep Mexico’s most wanted drug kingpin, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, behind bars. It’s the third time he’s been detained since he was first arrested as the leader of the Sinaloa cartel—and if he escapes, it will be his third time slipping out of prison too.

Officials at Altiplano prison, the same maximum-security prison that Guzman was in last year, have beefed up security and placed a 24-hour guard outside of Guzman’s door, according to the BBC. In addition, the prison now has 24-hour video surveillance of all parts of Guzman’s cell, the AP reports.

Just six months ago, Guzman used an underground tunnel to escape from Altiplano, near Mexico City. This time prison authorities aren’t taking any chances—they’ve also been randomly moving Guzman to a new cell every few hours or days. Government spokesperson Eduardo Sanchez told reporters that Guzman has been placed in eight cells since arriving at the prison.

According to local media, Altiplano officials are also reinforcing the floors of some of Guzman’s cells to prevent any tunneling attempts.

Guzman’s escape in July 2015 was a huge embarrassment for the Mexican government, as it was the second time that Guzman had escaped while in prison. In 2001, Guzman escaped from another high-security prison outside of the city of Guadalajara by bribing guard. According to legend, he was wheeled out of the prison in a laundry cart. He remained at-large until the police captured him in 2014.

Guzman was captured by police forces on Friday (Jan. 8) in his home state of Sinaloa. When his capture was announced, the Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto tweeted, “Mission accomplished: We have him.”

Guzman now faces extradition to the US for several criminal charges, although Mexican officials have said that that process could take at least one year.