Mexican authorities have arrested six people who they allege orchestrated infamous drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán's escape from high-security prison earlier this year. Attorney General Arely Gomez announced Wednesday that officers had captured "the principal planner" of the jailbreak as well as Guzmán's brother-in-law, NBC News reported. She did not identify any of the suspects by name.
“Today we are able to affirm that the group responsible for planning, organizing and carrying out the escape from outside the prison has been broken up,” Gomez said, according to the Associated Press. Reportedly among them were the person who oversaw construction of the mile-long tunnel El Chapo used to leave the Altiplano prison and pilots who flew the kingpin to his hometown of Sinaloa once he emerged.
El Chapo, one of the most well-known drug traffickers in the world, was serving a 20-year sentence when he was discovered missing from his cell July 11. The convict has been on the run since, though authorities revealed last week they'd tracked him to the area near Sinaloa -- where his cartel is based and he's thought to have connections protecting him. Investigators recently said that El Chapo had fallen off a cliff and broken his leg in trying to evade capture, United Press International reported.
Meanwhile, more than 20 people who worked at the prison have been arrested for their links to El Chapo's escape. TeleSUR reported the group detained Tuesday included lawyer Oscar Manuel Gomez, landowner Francisco Ramirez, brother-in-law Edgar Coronel, tunnel financer Lazaro Araujo and builder German Valadez. Pilots Hector Ramón Takashima and Romano Lanciani Llanes were also reportedly in custody.
The Altiplano jailbreak was El Chapo's second such grand exit. In 2001, he got out by hiding in a laundry cart. It took police 13 years to locate him.