RT team relives infamous El Chapo drug lord’s tunnel escape from prison (VIDEO)
The tunnel from the most heavily guarded facility in the country, Altiplano prison located west of Mexico City, led to a half-constructed empty house in the fields. To reach it, the RT team in Mexico traveled some 30 minutes by car on a washboard dirt road.
“It’s a pretty simple building – you can see some rags and ashes on the floor here. You can also see a ventilation opening which is approximately 40 by 40 centimeters (15 by 15 inches). It connects to the tunnel,” RT Spanish correspondent Paola Guzman reported.
“I will now climb down using the same ladder that Guzman used for his escape,” the RT reporter said, adding that the hole to the tunnel is “pretty narrow.” Under the opening in the floor is an improvised ladder, built with a few planks and a handful of nails.
Further down, the ladder leads to a “kind of a staircase landing,” Guzman reported. Some construction materials and tools can still be found there, including a generator with cables going to the tunnel. Under the reinforced ceiling, there are also some batteries, wooden bars and a winch used to lift buckets of construction material.
Another ladder, which “is pretty long and difficult to climb,” according to the RT reporter, leads to the main chamber of the tunnel, through which one of the world’s most powerful organized crime bosses made the daring escape from his prison cell.
In this area, two modified diesel-powered motorcycles which move along rails can be seen, along with carts and more construction material, canisters of diesel fuel, and waste. “Everything is well-planned, there’s even an oxygen tank to help you breathe as you go further into the tunnel,” RT’s Guzman reported.
A pipe ventilating the tunnel and wires for lighting can also be seen along the underground passage. According to officials, Guzman smashed the bulbs which lit the tunnel as he fled. He also somehow got rid of the tracker bracelet he was forced to wear.
“As we walk deeper into the tunnel, the passage gets narrower. It’s about 50 cm (20 inches) wide and 80 cm (31 inches) high. It’s hard to breathe because we are underground, and the deeper into the tunnel we go, the less oxygen there is,” Paola Guzman said.
The search for El Chapo (translated from Mexican as The Shorty) continues, with million-dollar bounties set on the fugitive drug kingpin’s head by the authorities of several countries. Officials believe his escape would have been impossible without some kind of outside assistance.
It has been disclosed that the prison’s authorities had allowed drilling and waterproofing work for a pipeline project to proceed on the perimeter of the jail. The noise created by the construction work potentially helped provide the perfect cover for the drug lord’s own illegal construction. There have also been claims that Guzman may have paid $50 million in bribes to help him escape the prison, which is equipped with underground sonar to detect any possible tunneling activities.
The escape was the second for Guzman, who is wanted by the governments of Mexico and the US, as well as Interpol. He was previously caught in 1993, but in 2001 he escaped by simply bribing his guards. He was arrested again in 2014 and imprisoned in February of that year, meaning it took less than 17 months for the tunnel to be built.