July 17, 2015 / 4:58 AM / in 2 years

Mexico probing delivery of prison plans for drug lord escape

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico is investigating who could have given plans of a maximum security prison to accomplices of kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in his second jail break, a senior government minister said on Thursday.

A police vehicle is seen a poster with a photo of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman offering a reward of 60 million Mexican pesos for information along a street in Mexico City July 16, 2015. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Guzman sparked a massive manhunt after escaping from a prison on Saturday night in a mile-long tunnel that led from his cell into a deserted building, dealing a bitter blow to President Enrique Pena Nieto.

“Regarding the plans, it’s part of the investigation that we’re doing ... who participated, who handed them over, when they got them,” Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said at a news conference.

Guzman’s escape tunnel ran from a seemingly abandoned property near the town outside Altiplano prison in the State of Mexico to right underneath the shower in his cell.

The government has already fired the prison director.

In video footage released by the government, he is seen minutes before his getaway pacing the cell, changing his shoes and then disappearing behind a wall partly covering the shower fitting. Behind it was a 50-cm (20 inch) by 50-cm escape hatch.

“They weren’t off by a millimeter. It was incredibly exact,” a government official close to the investigation said under condition of anonymity.

Guzman’s departure was his second from a high security lockup in less than 15 years. In 2001, Guzman bribed guards to help him escape from a prison near the city of Guadalajara after a previous arrest in 1993.

He was recaptured in northwestern Mexico in February 2014.

“Our objectives are clear, recapture this criminal and punish each of his accomplices,” Osorio Chong said. “It won’t be easy.”

Additional reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Robert Birsel

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