clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Who Designs El Chapo's Smuggling and Escape Tunnels?

Even by the standards of Mexico's drug cartels, the weekend prison break of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán was ballsy. The Sinaloa cartel boss escaped from the maximum-security Altiplano prison via a 20-by-20-inch passage dug out of his shower—the only part of his cell not monitored by cameras—then absconded via motorcycle through a nearly one-mile tunnel, which let out at an under-construction home in Santa Juanita in Almoloya de Juárez, west of Mexico City (some have theorized that the cartel may have purchased the home years ago, an insurance policy of sorts against the potential need for a jailbreak). Andy DuFresne wishes he had it so good. While the escape was shocking, the method didn't come as a surprise to anybody familiar with El Chapo's organization (or the notorious crime boss, who had previously broken out of prison in a laundry cart). A pioneer in the use of tunnels as a means of escape as well as a way around (or underneath) border security, Guzmán has commissioned scores of elaborate passageways, some even boasting rail systems, to haul millions of dollars in narcotics into the United States. With these illicit feats of engineering becoming commonplace tools for his organization, the question is, who's helping design and dig?

The expansion of an underground empire >>