Mexican authorities have issued “maximum alert” to about 8,200 federal police officers in every state as part of a massive search campaign for the fugitive drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the interior ministry said Wednesday, according to reports. The officials are searching hotels, hospitals and funeral homes in an effort to find the Sinaloa drug cartel kingpin who escaped a high-security federal prison Saturday.
Some 100,000 leaflets with Guzman’s picture have been distributed to highway toll booths while 48 canine teams are inspecting passenger and cargo vehicles, the Associated Press reported. The officials have also reportedly set up 101 checkpoints on main highways across Mexico.
The interior ministry stated that the authorities are checking every private flight in airports throughout the country with a "rigorous inspection of passengers," Agence France-Presse reported. Over 180 special forces have also reportedly launched their own search to capture Guzman.
The ministry released the statement summarizing actions taken so far in the extensive hunt a day after the Mexican government announced $3.8 million in reward to capture Guzman.
This is Guzman's second jailbreak in 15 years after his first arrest in 1993. He escaped from a maximum security jail in Jalisco state in January 2001. In February 2014, he dodged arrest with the help of a network of tunnels joining several houses in Culiacan, Sinaloa state. But officials arrested him later that month.
Guzman's escape has become a major concern for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's administration, highlighting corruption in the country and further blotting Nieto's political record. “Just like no resources were spared to detain this fugitive in the past, we will not spare any resource to detain him again,” Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, secretary of Mexico's interior ministry, said, according to the New York Times, adding: “There will be no rest for this felon.”