The insane way El Chapo escaped prison

Matt Lillywhite

And the extraordinary details of his capture...

Joaquín Guzman (commonly known as El Chapo) is one of the most infamous criminals of all time. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, he “oversaw the smuggling of narcotics to wholesale distributors in Arizona, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and elsewhere.”

Guzman also hired hitmen to murder anyone who posed a threat to the Sinaloa Cartel. “Guzman directed his hitmen to kidnap, interrogate, torture, and shoot members of rival drug organizations, at times carrying out acts of violence himself. A former hitman testified that Guzman beat two men with a tree branch until their bodies were completely like rag dolls, before shooting the men and ordering their bodies be tossed into a bonfire.”

Throughout his life, Joaquín Guzman was arrested many times. But he was also a master of escape. So without further ado, let’s discuss the details of his unconventional escape attempt from a prison in Mexico.

The Details Of The Crime Scene…

Guzmán escaped from a jail outside Mexico City on July 11, 2015. He was last spotted by surveillance cameras near the shower in his cell at 8:52 p.m. According to jail officials, the only portion of his cell that was not viewable through the surveillance camera was the shower. So, it made an obvious place for Guzman to launch his escape.

Prison guards began hunting for Guzman after the guards didn’t see him for 25 minutes on security cameras. However, Guzman was long gone by the time they arrived at his cell.

The escape was swift. Guzman fled through a secret tunnel running from the shower area of his cell to a construction site in a nearby neighborhood. Mexican authorities said Guzman used a tall ladder to climb to the bottom of the tunnel, which was 35ft underground. It was outfitted with artificial lighting, air ducts, and high-quality building materials. A motorcycle was also discovered in the tunnel, which authorities believe was used to transport Guzman to freedom.

The Nationwide Manhunt…

According to Mexico’s National Security Commissioner, Monte Alejandro Rubido Garcia, the nationwide manhunt was launched immediately.
El Chapo mugshotPhoto byDEA

The entire prison was placed on lockdown, and no one was permitted to enter or leave. Since Guzman couldn’t be found, the area of investigation was expanded to include Mexico City, the State of Mexico, Morelos, Puebla, Guerrero, Michoacán, Querétaro, Hidalgo, and Tlaxcala.

Authorities didn’t want Guzman to flee the country. So, Mexican authorities notified border agencies to look out for the prison escapee. Interpol and other international organizations were also made aware of a possible plan to escape to another country.

To increase the probability of capture, flights were canceled at the nearby Toluca International Airport, while the Mexican military commandeered sectors of Mexico City International Airport.

Following Guzman’s high-profile escape, the Mexican government was furious. They felt embarrassed and immediately announced a $60 million MXN (about $3.1 million USD) reward for information leading to Guzman’s capture. And thankfully, Mexican citizens were happy to help.

The Extraordinary Details Of El Chapo’s Arrest…

Civilians reported suspicious activity at a house in northern Sinaloa. Thankful for the tip-off, authorities placed the house under surveillance for approximately one month.

It didn’t take long for the stakeout to yield successful results. An apartment in the nearby vicinity was being prepared for the arrival of “Grandma” or “Aunt,” which police assumed was code for a high-priority individual.

Confident the person in question was Guzman, the apartment was searched in the early hours of January 8, 2016, in an operation codenamed “Black Swan.” It was carried out by 17 marines from the Mexican Navy’s Special Forces, with assistance from the Mexican Army and Federal Police. But Guzman noticed the cops, fled through a hidden tunnel, and stole a car.
Photo byDEA

A statewide alert was issued in Sinaloa for the stolen vehicle, and the Federal Police intercepted it near the town of Juan José Ríos. Guzman reportedly attempted to bribe the officers with offers of cash, mansions and offers of lucrative jobs. However, the police rejected the bribes & arrested the suspect.

Guzman Was Quickly Sentenced To Life In Prison…

Mexico agreed to extradite Guzman to the United States on one condition: he wouldn’t be sentenced to death if found guilty of homicide.

Guzman was extradited to the United States on January 19, 2017, and was turned over to the custody of Homeland Security. In Manhattan, he was imprisoned in the maximum-security wing of the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Jury selection for Guzman’s trial began on November 5, 2018. But in an astonishing turn of events, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan said the trial would be on the same day. According to media reports, Guzman had a history of assassinating jurors and witnesses. Thus, jury anonymity was essential.

Guzman was found guilty on all counts and thus sentenced to life in prison (plus 30 years). He was also ordered to pay more than $12.6 billion, according to CNN.

“The guilty verdict against Joaquin Guzman Loera, one of the most violent and feared drug kingpins of our time, is a testament to the hard work and courage of America’s frontline law enforcement personnel,” said DHS Secretary Nielsen. “Today’s verdict sends an unmistakable message to transnational criminals: you cannot hide, you are not beyond our reach, and we will find you and bring you to face justice.”

Guzman was eventually imprisoned in ADX Florence, located in Colorado. Much to Guzman’s dismay, nobody has successfully escaped that prison before. And hopefully, they never will.

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Authors note: I obviously do not condone the crimes of Joaquín Guzman or any of his associates. All information in this article can be verified by mainstream news outlets and government agencies.

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Matt Lillywhite publishes national news and local stories. He can be reached via email at


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