Vast majority of Mexicans believe govt complicit in drug lord El Chapo's prison break

A federal police hand out flyers to driver with photos of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman offering a reward of 60 million Mexican pesos for information near the Marquesa toll booth outside Mexico City. ©  Henry Romero
Almost a month after the daring escape of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman from a maximum security prison, more than three quarters of Mexicans are certain that their government was somehow involved in the scandalous prison break.

Conducted by Parametria, the poll discovered that only 17 percent of Mexicans think that Guzman was the sole mastermind of his Altiplano federal prison break via an underground tunnel. But an absolute majority, 77 percent, believe authorities were involved in his escape.

On July 11, the leader of the Sinaloa cartel descended into the 1.5 kilometer long, and ten meter deep tunnel through which the notorious Mexican drug lord escaped from the country’s highest-security federal prison.

The getaway tunnel was equipped with illumination, ventilation, oxygen tanks and stairs. It also had a motorbike on rails, which had apparently been used to remove soil. The intrepid diggers may have used the house in the fields as a temporary residence while they carried out their activities.

In a country with a tendency to distrust the official version of events, there are a few who doubt that the Mexican government has revealed the full story behind the escape of ‘El Chapo’. Only 46 percent of those surveyed said that they believed the official version of events. Another 40 percent answered that the drug lord escaped some other route.

READ MORE: Escaped drug lord El Chapo ‘most likely’ still in Mexico – senior US official

The new survey also juxtaposed the recent poll with similar studies conducted over the years on public opinion on ‘El Chapo’, who Forbes has named the 14th richest man in the world. Compared to three years ago, the portion of people who maintains a “bad” or “very bad” opinion of Guzman has actually fallen from 76 percent to only 56 percent today.

The 60-year-old is known as one of the world’s most powerful organized crime bosses and until his arrest, the US Department of the Treasury considered him the “most powerful drug trafficker in the world.”

Because of Guzman’s vast reach, just over half of Mexicans (52 percent) say that the government must recapture him, but a worrying 40 percent believe that there is no point in returning him to jail – a figure that represents an apparent loss of confidence in the authorities and the justice system.

READ MORE: Drug lord El Chapo escaped from two virtually identical Mexican prisons

Most think that the Sinaloa Cartel will always be able to break him out, as Guzman has successfully fled Mexican prisons twice now, with the first time being in 2001. Sinaloa smuggles billions of dollars’ worth of cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine into the United States, and has fought brutal wars with other Mexican gangs over turf and drug trafficking routes.

Because of the cartel’s influence, only 39 percent of Mexicans believe Guzman is any more dangerous out of prison, while 42 percent said that Guzman is as dangerous behind bars as he is on the run.

Meanwhile the manhunt continues for the notorious drug lord with the US State Department offering $5 million for any information on ‘El Chapo’ that will eventually lead to his arrest.