How El Chapo Nearly Got Away

The notorious drug lord could still be at large.


The capture of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was anything but a sure thing.

Before the infamous head of Mexico’s Sinola drug cartel was arrested on Friday, Guzman evaded Mexican authorities by escaping through a “sophisticated” tunnel leading into sewers of Los Mochis, a town in the drug kingpin’s home state, according to Reuters.

That’s when things went wrong for the notorious cartel boss. Reuters reports that Guzman “spent hours below ground as his henchmen sought to lure pursuing Marines up toward the roof of the house he had been holed up in.” Unfortunately, heavy rainfall forced Guzman to emerge from a manhole nearly a mile away and carjack an innocent bystander at gunpoint, according to the New York Times. He was apprehended soon afterwards.

Mexican marines were nearly thrown off Guzman’s trail by another secret tunnel found hidden beneath a refrigerator. Among the weapons found in Guzman’s hideout were “50 caliber rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, and an M-16 with a grenade launcher attached,” according to Jalopnik.

Tunneling isn’t a new trick for Guzman; the drug lord has already escaped twice from Mexican prisons. For his most recent escape last summer, Guzman and his associates built a secret tunnel nearly 30 feet underground from the shower stall in his prison cell to a construction site nearly a mile away. According to the New York Times, the tunnel “was equipped with lighting, ventilation and a motorcycle on rails. Some engineers estimated that the tunnel took more than a year and at least $1 million to build.”

Given Guzman’s propensity for escape, Mexican and American authorities are exploring extradition to the United States for the notorious drug lord. The extradition process will take “at least a year,” Mexico’s Attorney General said on Monday.

Chances are this won’t be the last time El Chapo evades authorities at the last second? Guzman’s first words when he was caught, according to Mexican TV outlet Televisa? “My holidays are over.”