Monday 21 May 2018

Mexico arrests six over drug lord El Chapo's jailbreak

Police guard a drainage pipe outside the Altiplano maximum security prison in Almoloya after El Chapo's escape (AP)
Police guard a drainage pipe outside the Altiplano maximum security prison in Almoloya after El Chapo's escape (AP)

Six people believed to be responsible for the prison break by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, including the elusive Mexican drug lord's brother-in-law and the suspected mastermind of the escape, have been arrested.

Attorney general Arely Gomez said the alleged mastermind of the operation was a member of Guzman's legal team who had access to the Altiplano prison near Mexico City, and was able to notify the capo of the operation's progress and receive instructions.

The person is also said to have relayed orders and payments to others involved in the escape.

Others arrested included Guzman's brother-in-law, believed to have supervised the building of the mile-long escape tunnel and organised transportation, a person who negotiated the purchase of the plot of land where the tunnel emerged, and a pilot.

Ms Gomez said after the escape, the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel boss travelled by land to the city of Queretaro where officials say he caught a small plane to a mountainous region of Sinaloa, his home state and stronghold.

Two Cessna aircraft left from Queretaro, Ms Gomez said. Authorities recently detained a second pilot in the case.

She did not name any of the suspects or take questions, but said they planned, organised and carried out the jailbreak along with officials inside the maximum-security jail.

About 23 prison staff and employees have also been arrested and some face criminal charges.

El Chapo's July 11 escape through the tunnel dug to the shower in his cell was his second brazen flight from prison and made him once-again Mexico's most-wanted fugitive.

In 2001 he slipped out of another maximum-security facility, purportedly hidden in a laundry basket.

Security agents have focused their manhunt on Sinaloa and neighbouring Durango state in recent weeks. Officials say Guzman was injured in the leg and face while fleeing the dragnet there.

Press Association

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