A former DEA agent claims he warned Mexican officials that billionaire Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman would escape again if he wasn’t extradited to the United States after his capture last year.
Phil Jordan, the former head of the DEA’s El Paso Intelligence Center said that it was a ‘significant arrest’ in February 2013, after Guzman had been on the run for 13 years following another prison escape.
But Jordan said it would only be considered a success if Guzman, who escaped from a maximum-security prison again on Saturday, was immediately taken out of Mexico.
‘If he does not get extradited, then he will be allowed to escape within a period of time… If he is, in fact, incarcerated, until he gets extradited to the United States, it will be business as usual,’ he told CNN at the time.
And because Guzman was never extradited, Jordan, who spend 30 years with the DEA, was not shocked that the drug lord had yet again escaped.
‘No, I’m surprised it took a year for him to escape,’ he said, before correcting himself: ‘Before he was allowed to escape.’
Jordan, like many others, believes that Guzman had help from his escape, even from those outside the people who dug his tunnel.
After his 2001 escape, dozens of prison workers, including the warden, were prosecuted.
Jordan went on to say that Guzman’s capture in 2014 was ‘absolute BS’, adding that the extradition ‘was never going to happen’.
‘They don’t capture Guzman unless they’ve made a deal with Guzman not to extradite him to the United States,’ he said.
Jordan’s comments come as pictures of the mile-long tunnel through which Guzman made his escape from the maximum-security prison were released to the public.
The photographs show the tunnel’s motorbike on tracks, ventilation pipes and a ladder in the shaft connecting the tunnel to the jail.
The motorbike, which was secured at its front wheel to the rails, was waiting for El Chapo as he descended into the tunnel from the prison shower block on Saturday night.
It is believed he spent $50million on the elaborate underground escape route, which took his engineers around a year to complete.
The slim tunnel, complete with oxygen-supply piping overhead, was bored by the Sinaloa Cartel’s expert mining engineers, using professional equipment. They would have had to remove more than 3,250 tonnes of earth.
Cartel leader El Chapo, who got his nickname (‘The Shorty’) from his 5ft, 6in stature, would have been able to stand up in the tunnel.
He prized open a grill in the prison showers, unnoticed by guards, before climbing down a 32ft shaft into the tunnel.
Speaking to news channel Univision, Pablo Escobar’s former top gunman known as ‘Popeye’, said that tunneling out of maximum security prison is very difficult without the complicity of at least some of the guards, who are equipped with highly sensitive sonar equipment that will pick up any mining activity.
‘You have to buy off the guards if you want to have a chance’, said the cartel killer. ‘And they know how rich he is, they’ll have asked for tens of millions of dollars’.
‘El Chapo probably paid around 50million in bribes alone’.
More than 30 employees who worked at the prison have already been pulled in for questioning in the course of the interview.
Three prison system officials have been fired, including the prison director.
And in a previous prison escape El Chapo had bribed prison guards to push him out of the Puente Grande maximum-security prison, in the western state of Jalisco, in a laundry cart.