By Robert Stitt
The United States Drug Enforcement Agency had told the Mexican authorities for over a year that an escape attempt was being planned, they even hinted at how it might be carried out.
U.S. officials sought extradition to bring the drug lord to the states, and insisted upon changes to Guzman’s incarceration plan. We know that the warnings were not heeded, the extradition was denied, and the incarceration plan was kept exactly as Guzman wanted it.
In the end, Hollywood could not have written a better escape. Invoking memories of “The Great Escape”, a mile-long tunnel was dug 33 feet under the prison and then up into the prison’s shower room. Unlike the movie, this tunnel wasn’t just a hole in the ground.
According to CNN, “It was complete with lighting, ventilation and even a modified motorcycle on tracks that was likely used to remove dirt during the excavation and transport the tools for the dig.”
Celebrity Net Worth credits Jhon Jairo Velasquez Vasquez, the former chief assassin for drug lord Pablo Escobar, with estimating the cost of the tunnel at $50 million. Vasquez stated, the money would have gone not only to the construction of the tunnel itself, but also to bribing officials who were instrumental in delaying a search for the escaped convict.
Once Guzman exited the half built house on the opposite end of the tunnel, nobody knows where he went, or if they do, they are not saying.
The manhunt for El Chapo is focused on a mountainous area of Mexico called the Golden Triangle.
Jose Reveles, a Mexican drug trafficking expert, pointed out, “They used to say, once El Chapo went into the mountains it would be like trying to find Osama bin Laden. He has his spies, his spotters, his killers.”
Due to the nature of his business, nobody knows exactly how much money Guzman has at his disposal, but it is estimated that he is worth over $1 billion. With that much money and a following loyal enough to pull off such a stunning escape, comparing him to Bin Laden may not be a valid analogy anymore. After all, they found Bin Laden.