The director of the maximum-security prison where billionaire drug kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman staged his elaborate escape on Saturday has been fired, Mexican Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong has said.
The announcement comes on the same day that photographs emerged of Guzman appearing to taunt authorities with his new-found freedom by drinking beer and flying in an airplane.
Additionally, Drug Enforcement Agency documents released on Monday revealed that the United States warned Mexico of Guzman’s escape plans 16 months ago.
Officials are now offering a reward up to 60million pesos (about $3.8million) for information leading up to the capture of Guzman.
Osorio Chong said that security footage of Guzman’s prison cell prior to his escape will also be released to the public.
The photos of Guzman drinking beer and flying on an airplane were sent to a blog which monitors the on-going drug war in Mexico by one of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s sons, and were allegedly taken after his audacious escape just two days ago.
If verified, the pictures would be the first of the notorious cartel leader to surface since his prison break on Saturday morning from Altiplano jail and follow Twitter threats to presidential candidate Donald Trump warning him to stop his anti-Mexico rhetoric.
A recent prison photo of Guzman shows him with a shaved head and without his trademark mustache – but in the photos of Guzman celebrating his release, he appears to be sporting a full head of hair and a mustache.
While the photos are still in question, DEA documents reveal that drug agents first got information in March 2014 that Guzman family members and drug-world associates were considering ‘potential operations to free Guzman’, shortly after his recapture at a seaside resort in February 2014.
Minister Chong said that authorities were never informed ‘in that respect’, referring to previous escape plans. He added that U.S. counterparts also said they didn’t know where the escape information came from.
But a U.S. official briefed on the investigation confirmed that the Mexican authorities were alerted to the plots. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press.
The DEA documents do not include details of how the previous escape plots would be carried out and agents did not have information about Saturday night’s plan, when Guzman escaped through an underground tunnel in his prison cell’s shower area, allegedly built without the detection of authorities.
But they revealed that in March 2014 agents in Los Angeles reported a possible escape operation funded by Rafael Caro-Quintero, who helped orchestrate the 1985 kidnapping and murder of DEA agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena.
That plot involved threatening or bribing prison officials. The same investigation revealed four months later that Guzman’s son had sent a team of lawyers and military counter-intelligence personnel to design a break-out plan.
In December of 2014, agents in the DEA’s Houston Field Division reported that a Mexican army general stated ‘that a deal was in place to release both Guzman-Loera and imprisoned Los Zetas Cartel leader Miguel Angel “Z-40” Tevino-Morales’.
‘Despite being imprisoned in a `high security’ facility, DEA reporting further indicates Guzman-Loera was able to provide direction to his son and other cartel members via the attorneys who visited (him) in prison and possibly through the use of a cellphone provided…by corrupt prison guards,’ the documents stated.
Following Guzman’s capture, according to the documents, his son Ivan Guzman-Salazar became ‘the de facto leader of the Guzman branch of the Sinaloa Cartel’.’
Guzman’s ‘right-hand man, Damaso Lopez-Nunez’ took over one of the four major trafficking organizations that operated under the auspices of the larger Sinaloa Cartel.
Prior to the DEA documents being released this weekend, a Twitter account thought to be run by the drug-lord’s son Ivan issued a stark warning to Donald Trump, who has weighed in on the escape amid his ongoing crusade against Mexican immigration.
It advised the Republican candidate that ‘If you keep p****** me off I’m going to make you eat your words you f****** blonde milk-s*****”.
The menacing message follows Trump’s own blowhard promise to deal with El Chapo harshly, claiming that Guzman embodies ‘everything that is wrong with Mexico’, adding he would ‘kick his ass’.
Trump weighed in even further on Sunday, suggesting that U.S. border authorities are so incompetent that they will offer him citizenship next.
The property magnate, who is known as The Donald, has fired off a barrage of anti-Mexican rhetoric since starting his presidential campaign and said Guzman’s dramatic jail break proved Mexico’s ‘corruption’.
A campaign spokesperson for Trump told DailyMail.com that ‘the FBI is fully aware of the situation and is actively investigating this threat against Mr. Trump.’
The billionaire himself added that ‘I’m fighting for much more than myself. I’m fighting for the future of our country which is being overrun by criminals. ‘You can’t be intimidated. This is too important.’
In addition to threatening Trump, Guzman also took aim at the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto saying: ”And you @EPN, don’t call me a delinquent because I give people work unlike you you cowardly politician.’ He also warned that, if he was caught, there would be a ‘fight’.
The drugs lord’s account became particularly active yesterday, when many believe it was Guzman himself sending messages of victory and threatening his enemies with gruesome death.
He also posted: ‘Never say never, this world keeps turning. In this life, he who risks nothing cannot win’.
He followed up with ‘There’s no jail for such a big midget’ – El Chapo means midget in Spanish as Guzman measures only five foot six inches tall.
He also started calling death threats on those who have supposedly betrayed him, including El Chabelo, the current incarcerated boss of Sinaloa’s rival cartel the Zetas.
Guzman wrote: ‘First to die is El Chabelo, for wanting to see me die in prison.’
He then hinted that the authorities had been complicit in the jailbreak by posting: ‘The dog (slang for the Mexican government) dances for money, and I’ve bought it.’