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Subject U.S. Agents Knew Of Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman Escape Plot In Advance: Documents
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Original Message U.S. agents knew of 'El Chapo' escape plot a month after his arrest: documents

Alicia A. Caldwell, The Associated Press
Published Monday, July 13, 2015 2:56PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, July 13, 2015 6:21PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- The weekend disappearance of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman from a maximum security prison should have come as little surprise to Mexican authorities: The Drug Enforcement Administration had alerted them 16 months ago about several plans to escape.

Mexico's most notorious drug trafficker began plotting to break out almost immediately after his recapture at a seaside resort in February 2014. Internal DEA documents obtained by The Associated Press revealed that drug agents first got information in March 2014 that various Guzman family members and drug-world associates were considering "potential operations to free Guzman."

Mexican federal government officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the earlier escape schemes.

Since the 1990s his violent and powerful cartel has been known for digging sophisticated smuggling tunnels under the U.S. border with Mexico. Guzman was first arrested in 1993 but escaped in Jalisco from one of Mexico's top-security prisons in January 2001, allegedly by hiding in a laundry basket. He evaded capture in early February 2014 through an elaborate network of tunnels that connected multiple safe houses in Culiacan, in his home state of Sinaloa, and was arrested again a month later.

Jim Dinkins, the former head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations unit said that Guzman's history of tunneling makes Saturday's escape "really ingenious." The sophisticated tunnel described by Mexican authorities would usually take about a year and half to two years to complete, Dinkins said, suggesting it was started almost immediately after Guzman's arrest in 2014.

The DEA documents obtained by the AP do not include details of how the previous escape plots would be carried out. In them, Guzman is identified as Guzman-Loera.

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[link to www.ctvnews.ca]
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