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The silent, grainy video of the world’s most notorious drug lord calmly walking toward his private shower reveals just how easy Joaquin“El Chapo” Guzmán’s escape from a Mexican maximum-security prison was.
A new clip with audio, presented by Mexican broadcaster Televisa, shows just how apparent it should have been to prison guards that, on the night of July 11, the master of tunnels was again going to prove he deserved the title.
In the video, the Sinaloa cartel boss is seen lying on his bed under a blanket while the audio from a Spanish program is heard blaring from a portable television:
At approximately 8:46 p.m., the first sound of drilling is heard over the audio from the television program.
The sounds continue for six minutes, when, at 8:52 p.m., Guzmán steps into his cell’s private shower and disappears from the camera’s view.
Listen carefully at these minute marks — 1:43, 1:47, 1:54, and 2:04
During the 30-minute delay between when Guzmán stepped out of view and when the guards took notice of his absence, the two federal agents responsible for monitoring surveillance footage from his cell played solitaire.
The clip with audio has not been verified by the Mexican government. The only footage it has released is a clip of Guzmán pacing in his cell before disappearing from view.
The Mexican government’s ‘levels of complicity’
Amid these charges, Mexico’s interior ministry was accused of hiding a video with sounds of power tools and digging, proving that Altiplano prison staff knew of Guzmán’s planned escape, EFE Agencia reports.
“The video exists and is crucial in identifying the level of complicity in [El] Chapo’s escape,” secretary of the Mexican Congress’ Bicameral Committee on National Security, Sen. Alejandro Encinas, told EFE Agencia in mid-September.
“[Prison employees] responsible for monitoring [Guzmán] have been formally charged in recent days, but that’s not enough because the mere fact that the sound of a power drill was heard means there were several levels of complicity,” he added.
This information prompted Encinas to request access to the full recording with audio, which is held by Mexico’s Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN).
“[On September 1] I received a verbal response from the deputy government secretary, Felipe Solis Acero, in which he told me it wasn’t possible to provide me with a copy of the video because it was part of a preliminary inquiry, a response that I was expecting but which also means that the video exists,” Encinas told EFE Agencia.
Master of tunnels
Guzmán slipped through a perfectly placed hole in the blind spot of the lone security camera in his L-shaped prison cell — an 1 1/2 foot by 1 1/2 foot gap in the shower floor that led to a 32-foot ladder into a mile-long tunnel.
The custom-built 5 1/2-foot high and 2-foot-7-inch-wide tunnel was illuminated and equipped with a ventilation system.
A motorcycle built onto rails was also placed in the sophisticated passage to transport Guzmán through the tunnel quickly.
The end of the tunnel opened up to a nondescript abandoned home that is at least a half-mile away from any other building.
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