(CNN Spanish) — After an operation that began at dawn this Thursday in the town of Jesús María, located in the municipality of Culiacán, Sinaloa, the authorities captured Ovidio Guzmán López, one of the sons of the Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán.
Guzmán López heads the criminal organization related to the Pacific Cartel called “Los Menores”, according to Mexican authorities.
After his arrest —which according to the Secretary of National Defense of Mexico, Luis Cresencio Sandoval, was the result of “six months of reconnaissance and surveillance work in the area of influence” of Los Menores— he was transferred from Culiacán to the City of Mexico, in an operation aboard aircraft of the Mexican Air Force.
Local media reported that Guzmán López was transferred on Thursday night to the Federal Center for Social Readaptation (Cefereso) number 1, known as the Altiplano maximum security prison, located in the municipality of Almoloya de Juárez, in the state of Mexico. This was the same prison from which his father, El Chapo Guzmán, escaped in 2015, through a tunnel in a spectacular escape in which he took advantage of a blind spot in a cell.
This was the escape of Chapo
Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s escape was an almost cinematographic episode that cost the government of then President Enrique Peña Nieto strong criticism and called public security institutions to account for security in the country.
The escape occurred on July 11, 2015 at around 9 p.m. local time, through a tunnel that connected the bathroom of his cell to a house that was 1.5 kilometers from the prison.
Guzmán Loera had spent 503 days in said prison, after he was captured in an operation by federal forces at a hotel in the port of Mazatlán in February 2014.
Chapo’s escape was recorded in less than two minutes, according to a video released by the National Secretary of Security at the time, Monte Alejandro Rubido García.
The sequence of El Chapo’s escape is so simple that the videos released by the authorities at that time must be reviewed in slow motion to see the moment in which he escaped:
According to them, Guzmán Loera appeared in the shower area around 8:50 pm on July 11, 2015. He then returned to his bed and changed his shoes, according to security videos. In less than three minutes, the drug lord returns to the shower area, turns to the ground, and enters a duct.
From that place, “el Chapo” went down a conduit to the tunnel of more than 1,500 meters in length, through which he escaped from the maximum security prison.
To freedom through a mile-long tunnel
Authorities found a rectangular hole measuring 50 centimeters by 50 centimeters and a meter and a half deep in the shower of the Sinaloa cartel leader’s cell.
This hole communicated with a 10-meter-deep vertical conduit fitted with a ladder, which led to a tunnel 1.70 meters high and 80 centimeters wide, with a length of approximately 1,500 meters.
“The tunnel has PVC pipe, presumably for ventilation, as well as lighting, and an adapted motorcycle on rails as a traction mechanism by which, probably, the earth produced by the excavation was extracted and the tools for the excavation were transported.” Rubido detailed.
Throughout the tunnel, construction tools, oxygen tanks, fuel containers, formwork wood and PVC pipes were found.
The passage ends at a construction site to the southwest of the Altiplano prison, located in the San Juanita neighborhood of the municipality of Almoloya de Juárez, in the State of Mexico.
The authorities reported days later that so that no one would notice that they were opening a hole in the cell, the perpetrators of Guzmán’s escape used “acid and heat” to weaken the concrete on the floor of cell 20, where the drug trafficker was imprisoned for 17 months.
After El Chapo’s escape and subsequent capture in 2016, prison authorities installed hundreds of new cameras, and, in order to monitor the drug trafficker, guards monitored his every move and guard dogs were trained to detect his scent. In addition, the prison floors were reinforced with steel rods.
In 2001, Guzmán Loera escaped for the first time from a maximum security prison in Jalisco, using a laundry cart. The escape required expensive bribes that reportedly cost him $2.5 million, according to Malcolm Beith’s book, “The Last Narco.”
Guzmán was a fugitive for more than twelve years until his capture in 2014, when he was arrested at a Mazatlán hotel and sent to prison until his escape in 2015.
El Chapo Guzmán was extradited to the United States in 2017. There he faced legal proceedings in which, in 2019, he was sentenced to prison on 10 charges, including participation in an ongoing criminal enterprise, drug trafficking, and firearms charges. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years and ordered to pay $12.6 billion in forfeiture.
In January 2022, an appeals court upheld his conviction, saying US District Judge Brian Cogan conducted the three-month trial “with diligence and fairness, after issuing a series of elaborate pretrial rulings.” meticulously”.
El Chapo is being held in the prison with the highest security measures in the United States, located in Florence, Colorado.
— With reporting from CNN’s Fidel Gutiérrez, Kiarinna Parisi, Catherine E. Shoichet and Sonia Moghe.