Four Mexican Prison Workers Charged in the Escape of “El Chapo”


In this June 10, 1993 file photo, Joaquin Guzman Loera, alias "El Chapo Guzman," is shown to the press after his arrest at the high security prison of Almoloya de Juarez, outskirts of Mexico City. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, file)

September 8, 2015

Suspicion runs deep in Mexico when it comes to the prison escape this summer of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the drug kingpin known as “El Chapo” (or “Shorty”). In July, for example, a poll by the newspaper Reforma found that a whopping 88 percent of Mexicans believed Guzman’s escape — his second since 2001 — was an inside job.

On Monday, a Mexican court appeared to add weight to those suspicions, charging four criminal justice officials for their alleged roles in Guzman’s breakout from the maximum security Altiplano prison on July 12.

According to a federal judge in the central state of Toluca, the four security workers failed to follow “protocols and norms” by not sounding the alarm to superiors or other prison officials once Guzman had escaped. Two of those charged are members of Mexico’s secret service who were based at the prison at the time. The other two had been tasked with monitoring the video feed inside of Guzman’s cell.

Three others have already been charged in relation to the escape, though authorities appear no closer to finding Guzman, whose Sinaloa cartel is not only Mexico’s largest trafficker of cocaine, heroin and marijuana, but is also behind much of the violence that by some estimates, accounts for as much as 55 percent of all homicides in the country.

But speculation about his whereabouts took a new turn last week, when his son tweeted a photo with a caption that read, “August here, you already know with whom.”

The image attached to the message appeared to show a portion of his father’s face, with Costa Rica tagged as the image’s location. Left unclear is whether the location was set deliberately to serve as a decoy, or whether the man in the image was actually even his father.

The image is not the first alleged Guzman sighting, which means that for now, it remains as little more than just a clue.

Related film: Drug Lord: The Legend of Shorty

Two filmmakers set out to interview “El Chapo” Guzman, leader of one of the biggest drug cartels.

Jason M. Breslow

Jason M. Breslow, Digital Editor



In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

As America Nears 200,000 COVID Deaths, President Trump’s Early Approach to the Virus Draws Scrutiny
“This unwillingness to think about the implications meant that there was no strategic planning going on,” John Bolton says in a scene from FRONTLINE’s "The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden."
September 21, 2020
In Wake of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Death, McConnell Reverses Course on Supreme Court Vacancy; Vows Vote on Nominee
It’s a markedly different approach than he took in the previous presidential election year of 2016, when a different Supreme Court justice died more than eight months before voters went to the polls.
September 19, 2020
Handling of Public Protests a 'Stress Test' for Police Reform
Violent outbursts have marked the period of unrest since George Floyd died May 25, after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned the 46-year-old Black man to the ground by his neck. In many cases, police have responded with force to disperse protesters, captured on cameras nationwide — including in Cleveland, Chicago, Seattle and Portland, all cities that were already under court-enforced agreements to reform their police departments. Independent monitors overseeing those agreements say it's possible police could find themselves out of compliance for how they've responded to the recent unrest.
September 18, 2020
Amid George Floyd Protests, a Critical Question: Can the Feds Fix American Policing?
As millions of people rallied in the streets this summer demanding an end to police violence, more than a dozen cities were quietly working on their own police reform process — in conference rooms and court hearings.  
September 16, 2020