Inside El Chapo’s escape from max security jail ‘on motorbike in secret tunnel’

On this day seven years ago (July 11, 2015) feared Mexican drug lord Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán escaped from prison for a second time.

In 2001 he paid roughly $2.5million (£2.01m) in bribes to be smuggled out of jail in a laundry basket.

Following this embarrassment, which allowed him to lead the Sinaloa Cartel for another 14 years, Mexican authorities ramped up precautions and locked him in a maximum security facility after his second arrest.

READ MORE: Alleged cartel hitman for El Chapo's sons 'caught masturbating in public under car'

Just 16 months later he was out again.

According to Mexico's National Security Commission (CNS), El Chapo was last seen on security cameras entering the shower in his cell, the only place not visible to the camera.

Concerned that he hadn't emerged after 25 minutes, guards went to the cell to investigate. He was gone.

CNS head Monte Alejandro Rubido told press that a 50cm by 50cm tunnel had been built under the shower, extending 10m down with a ladder connecting to a wider, 1.5km tunnel.

That 1.7m-tall, 80cm-wide tunnel was complete with lights, a ventilation system and a motorbike presumably used to transport dirt from the excavation – and possibly El Chapo himself.

"Throughout the tunnel, construction instruments, oxygen tanks, fuel containers, formwork wood, PVC pipe, among other objects, were found," said Rubido.

The tunnel led to a construction house where cartel workers had worked tirelessly for months to dig under Altiplano Prison to retrieve their boss.

"In that place, furniture, fixtures and other objects were found that indicate that there was a presence of workers or watchmen," Rubido explained.

What followed was a major national manhunt with helicopters tasked with tracking El Chapo down while prisons and airports were locked down.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto even flew back from a state trip in France after the news broke, slamming it as an "affront" to the Mexican government.

The president was heavily criticised and his reputation never recovered, although El Chapo was arrested for a third and final time in 2016.

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Peña Nieto's career was left in tatters when a witness in El Chapo's 2019 trial claimed he had accepted a $100m (£83.9m) bribe from the cartel boss.

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