Mexico's Most Notorious Drug Lord Escapes From Prison Again, Spurs Media Frenzy

Associated Press
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman seen in a 1993 photo

This marks the second time that "El Chapo" has broken free from a security facility.

Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman broke out of prison Saturday night, marking the second time that Mexico’s most feared drug trafficker has busted out of a security facility in 15 years.

Mexico's National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido told reporters Saturday night that prison staff reported the prison break after they found an opening to a tunnel leading to Guzman’s shower cell.

Rubido said the tunnel extended about 1,600 yards and was equipped with lighting, oxygen tanks and a motorcycle on tracks that was used for transporting equipment.

A massive manhunt has begun for Guzman, who was being held in the maximum-security Altiplano prison in the State of Mexico.

News of Guzman’s escape is drawing wide coverage from all major international news outlets. CNN aired a segment of Rubido's Saturday news conference in which he offers details of the escape. NBC, ABC and Fox News are among the U.S. media covering the story.

Guzman is leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s most powerful drug organization. He was arrested in February 2014 on drug-trafficking charges, and President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration heralded Guzman’s arrest as a major victory in the war on drugs.

This marks the second time that the kingpin has busted out of a security facility. In 2001, he escaped from a prison in the state of Jalisco by hiding in a laundry cart.

Rubido said 18 prison employees are being questioned for their possible role in aiding Guzman’s escape. 

Guzman has been the subject of numerous films and books.