A Brief History Of El Chapo’s Second Escape, His Third Capture, And His Intricate Tunnels

Film & TV Features Writer
01.13.16

Last week, notorious drug lord El Chapo was apprehended again by Mexican authorities in an action movie-esque raid. It’s the third time he’s been captured, so we have to ask ourselves: How does he keep slipping through the fingers of justice? And what break did it take for the kingpin to be caught this time?

Back in July, El Chapo used an intricate tunnel system in the shower stall in his cell to escape, but his experience in using underground routes goes back way before that. He and his cartel use similar tunnels to move billions of dollars of products and elude the police, with some being as long as a football field. Beyond the actual tunnels, the man used extensive aid of others, a motorcycle escape, and the fear perpetuated by his myths to disappear this time, staying on the lam for six months.

And what finally tripped him up? Besides a pet monkey and narrowly dodging other raids, El Chapo met his downfall because of too much publicity. Due to his interview with Sean Penn and planning with filmmakers for his biopic, authorities were able to track down the drug lord. So if he would have just stayed out of the limelight and far, far away from Sean Penn, he might still be enjoying freedom.

Although it’s said every time he’s recaptured, officials say that more precautions are being taken to make sure he won’t escape again. He’s being moved from cell to cell to keep him from any possible tunnels and/or breakout, but the process for extradition to the U.S. could take as long as one year. Let’s just hope the capture will stick this time.

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