The prison guards tasked with keeping an eye on Mexico's top drug lord may have been playing solitaire on their computers when he escaped earlier this year. According to a column published this week in El Universal, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán was able to flee the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1, also called Altiplano, in July in part because the guards were not watching the security camera footage. And when they were questioned about it, they lied, Telesur reported.
Guzmán, the head of the Sinaloa Cartel and one of the world's biggest drug kingpins, made his second infamous escape from prison Saturday, July 11. He was there serving out a sentence for murder and drug trafficking when he disappeared after taking a shower. Authorities later discovered an almost mile-long tunnel underneath the prison, which led many to suggest he was helped by people both inside and outside the jail, Reuters reported.
El Chapo was thought to have entered the tunnel at about 8:52 p.m. the night of July 11. The guards previously told investigators that their computer screens had frozen four minutes earlier and had to be restarted, which contributed to the 18-minute delay between the time the inmate vanished from security camera footage and the time guards were sent to his cell. They said they called their supervisors nearly 30 times after the discovery that El Chapo was gone.
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But the El Universal report suggested that some of the guards' computers had been turned off, and they called only three times. Video sent to the attorney general's office showed the guards seemed "to be doing everything, but in reality nobody was doing anything. They would stand up, sit down, walk from one end to the other, bump into each other, slam on keyboards, stop, pick up the phone and place it back down," the article alleged in Spanish.
The prison guards have been accused of giving Guzmán special treatment before. El Blog De Narco published an interview earlier this year with a former inmate who claimed the guards gave El Chapo newspapers and allowed him to have a cell phone. They reportedly had "great respect" for him, even calling him "Don Joaquin" and "Lord."
El Chapo, 60, began serving his 20-year sentence in 1993 but escaped prison in 2001 by hiding in a laundry cart.
About 20 people have been arrested for possible links to El Chapo's 2015 jailbreak, NBC News reported.