Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, also known as El Chapo or “Shorty”, has once again escaped from a maximum security prison, security officials announced late Saturday.
Mexico’s National Security Commission (CNS) said in a statement that Guzman went to the showers in Altiplano prison around 9 pm local time, which was the last sighting of him.
When Guzman “was not visible” for a while, an alarm was issued and his “escape … was confirmed,” the commission said.
Guzman headed the Sinaloa cartel that smuggles huge amounts of illegal drugs into the United States and across the world. It is one of the parties involved in the violent drug war that has plagued Mexico in recent years.
Guzman, a billionaire, was first captured in Guatemala in 1993 and extradited to Mexico. He was serving a 20-year sentence for murder and trafficking when he escaped from Puente Grande, a maximum security prison in Jalisco state, in 2001 with the help of prison guards.
He was recaptured in February 2014 in Mazatlan, a Pacific resort in the Sinaloa state. On the DEA’s most wanted list, Guzman faces multiple federal drug trafficking indictments in the United States.
The CNS statement did not offer details on how Guzman escaped from Altiplano, another maximum security jail, but National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido is expected to make a statement on Sunday morning, the interior ministry said.
Authorities have started searching roads near the prison, while flights have been suspended from Toluca airport.