By Lucio R for Borderland Beat
As it turns out, those reports of the DEA agency forewarning Mexico of El Chapo’s escape plans were not accurate.
At a presser Wednesday to announce the new Chapo tipline, wanted posted and reward, DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg told reporters that the United States did not have any actionable intelligence of the Sinaloa Capo building a tunnel. However, he went on to affirm that the agency believes Chapo did indeed use the tunnel to escape.
Most experts of Mexican organized crime agree with Rosenberg. For El Chapo to walk out the Altiplano Max security prison through the front gates would require a conspiracy with the involvement of a massive amount of individuals. The more people involved the greater risk of a compromise or break in the chain of confidentiality. El Chapo is many things but an inept strategist is not one of them. Having a core group of people paid or threatened into facilitating the tunnel escape, was really the most secure method of escape. And his drug tunnel engineering is a technique El Chapo was very familiar with and whose sophistication he had acquired fame for.
Rosenberg said when he heard about the escape his reaction was "a combination of extreme disappointment and not terribly surprised. I mean, it had happened before, right? So fool me once, shame on you… I think I have that right …fool me twice, shame on me." A reference to Mexico having dirtied its hands with two Chapo escapes, the previous escape from a Jalisco prison in 2001, and the July escape from Altiplano. El Chapo now being the first to escape from Altiplano, Mexico’s only internationally recognized Super Max Prison.
While Reforma, a reputable media outlet in Mexico, reports in today’s issue, that the DEA announced it is working with Mexico to capture Chapo, implying they are working side by side, that is not quite what Rosenberg stated.
Mexico had already said “no thank you” to the U.S. offer of assistance, notably offering technology help. It was U.S. technology that tracked and found El Chapo in his February, 2014 capture.
Rosenberg said he has confidence in some U.S. sources within Mexico, however, he accepted that there are some elements within that government that may be working against the U.S.
He stated that The United States will continue its offer of manpower and sharing information with the Mexican government in the hunt for Guzman.
The agency released its new “wanted” poster (above) a tip line number, the tip line number in the United States is (844) 692-4101 and outside the U.S. the number is 001-844-692-4101, and reiterated the $5.000.000 dollar reward on Chapo’s head.
Also announced was a new tip line email address; CHAPOTIPS@USDOJ.GOV.
Rosenberg acknowledges that El Chapo’s influence and lore in Mexico is a foe the agency fights against in acquiring good information that would help in his capture. He says the agency believes Chapo is in Mexico where he has good control and the most protection. Mexican mews outlets report Rosenberg stated Chapo is in Sinaloa, while that is a reasonable deduction, what Rosenberg stated was Chapo is in Mexico, and not outside the country
The U.S. quickly filed a wanted warrant with Interpol, should El Chapo decides to travel outside Mexico’s borders.
“Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman-Loera has destroyed lives and communities throughout the United States and Mexico and his capture is a high priority for DEA,” said Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “His escape poses a danger to the safety and security of both our countries. DEA will continue to work closely with our Mexican counterparts and provide as many resources as possible to ensure his arrest.”
Information from the DEA press announcement:
“On July 11, 2015, he again escaped from Altiplano federal maximum security prison in the State of Mexico.
Guzman-Loera was in charge of the Guzman-Loera drug trafficking organization (DTO), which in turn, is part of the larger Sinaloa Cartel. Under the leadership of Guzman-Loera and his partner, Ismael Zambada-Garcia, the Sinaloa Cartel controls vast trafficking operations on an international scale, with the majority of its drugs being distributed to the United States. The Sinaloa Cartel bases its operations principally in the Mexican states of Sinaloa, Sonora, Durango and Baja California, although it also has representation in several other states throughout the Republic. In addition to its distribution cells in the United States, the DTO transports drug shipments to Canada, Australia, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Their organization smuggles multi-ton cocaine shipments from South America through Central America into Mexico. They are also involved in the manufacture, transport and distribution of methamphetamine and heroin. Additionally, the organization operates several large scale marijuana plantations in Sinaloa and surrounding areas. The Sinaloa Cartel organization relies on bulk currency shipments to move drug proceeds across the United States-Mexico border.
Guzman-Loera has been charged with drug trafficking and related crimes in several U.S. District Courts, to include the District of Arizona, the Southern District of California, the Western District of Texas, the Northern District of Illinois, the Eastern District of New York, and the Southern District of Florida. The first U.S. indictment against Guzman-Loera was unsealed in San Diego on September 28, 1995, charging him and 22 members of his organization with conspiracy to import over eight tons of cocaine and money laundering.”