WASHINGTON (KRON/AP) — U.S. drug authorities knew of plans to bust out Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman from prison, weeks after the Mexican drug lord was arrested last year. That’s according to internal Drug Enforcement Administration documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The internal DEA documents reveal that drug agents first got information on escape plans in March 2014, about a month after Guzman was captured in Mexico’s resort town of Mazatlan.
Immediately after the arrest, various Guzman family members and drug-world associates were considering “potential operations to free Guzman,” the documents show.
DEA agents didn’t have information about Saturday night’s plan, when Guzman escaped through an underground tunnel near a shower close to his prison cell.
In March 2014 agents in Los Angeles reported a possible escape operation funded by another drug organization run under the auspices of Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel. That plot involved threatening or bribing prison officials. That July, the same investigation revealed that Guzman’s son had sent a team of lawyers and military counter-intelligence personnel to design a break-out plan.
In December of the year, agents in the DEA’s Houston Field Division reported that a Mexican army general stated “that a deal was in place to release both Guzman-Loera and imprisoned Los Zetas Cartel leader Miguel Angel ‘Z-40’ Tevino-Morales.” Guzman is identified as Guzman-Loera in the documents.
Guzman’s arrest last year was considered a crowning achievement of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s war against drug cartels.