The Greatest Prison Escapes of All Time: Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman (Part Two)

Prisons are generally thought of as being pretty secure places. They house some of the world’s most dangerous criminals, so it’s important that security in these places is top notch. It’s baffling then that prison escapes actually happen and are sometimes pulled off brilliantly. We don’t like the thought of these people being free somewhere in the world, but we admit that the planning and execution of these escapes are often truly fascinating.

We recently started a series that aimed to look at some of the greatest and most puzzling escapes of all time. In part one; we looked at the escape of Frank Abagnale, a man who basically walked out of a prison in the USA.

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You’ve probably heard on the news this week about a man who escaped from a jail in Mexico and is now on the run from the police who are desperately trying to track him down. We thought it was the perfect time to pick up the series and take a closer look at this man who managed to escape from a high security prison.

The Criminal

Guzman is a Mexican drug lord who heads his own criminal organisation; the Sinaloa Cartel. Since 2003, he has been considered as being one of the most powerful criminals in the whole of Mexico and ranked 10th on a list of the richest people in Mexico back in 2011. This is extremely surprising, considering he spent most of these years in prison.

He was arrested in June 1993 after years of careful planning by the FBI and was sentenced to 20 years in maximum security prison. Whilst in prison, he continued to run his drug empire – bribing guards and keeping other prisoners scared of him. In 2001 he managed to escape, aided by several prison workers who he had managed to gain influence over.

He was on the run from 2001-2014, despite the authorities getting several leads. He was eventually arrested and sentenced to life in prison. That should of been the end right? Not exactly…


The Escape

Until last weekend, Guzman was serving time in The Federal Social Readaptation Center No 1 – a maximum security federal prison which prides itself as being impenetrable. He was last spotted heading into the shower area in his cell, the one place that isn’t visible on camera so that the prisoners can have a little privacy. It wasn’t until a few hours later, that the prison wardens realised that he hadn’t been spotted on the camera for a while and rushed to his cell. Unfortunately for them, they found it empty.

They found a tunnel that had been dug from his cell, which leads to a construction site 1.5 km away. The tunnel was 10m deep underground, 1.7m tall and 75cm in width – he had used a ladder to climb down and make a break for freedom. Once he made it to the end of the tunnel, there was a motorbike waiting for him.

Experts have said that this tunnel would have taken over a year to build and would have certainly drawn attention from the guards. So how did he manage it? A lot of people have claimed that he had paid the guards off – just like he had done previously. In fact, back in 2001, over a dozen prison workers were found guilty of aiding the prisoners escape. This time, it’s estimated that he spent around $50 million on his elaborate escape.

The prison was immediately put on lockdown and the nearby area was crawling with police within hours. Despite this, the criminal mastermind was nowhere to be seen. The manhunt which is still ongoing has spread to all areas of Mexico – with all potential airports and borders being on high alert.

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So what do you think? Did Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman buy his way out of prison? Is $50 million a good price for his freedom? We’re not sure if or when he will be recaptured, but he managed to stay hidden for 12 years last time so only time will tell.

The fact that he managed to pull off TWO well executed prison escapes highlights the importance of good security. Here at AFS Security, we are a professional locksmith in East London who aims to provide you will high quality security solutions for your home and business. We understand that good security can give you peace of mind, so we make it our mission to help you with all your security needs.

For more information on our services, please contact us on 0208 471 9000. 

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