Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Friday, November 3, 2023

El Altiplano: The Prison That Became 'El Chapo' Guzmán's Family's Second Home

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Several generations of the Guzman dynasty and the Sinaloa Cartel have been held in Mexico's maximum security prison. Some managed to escape, others were surprised by death behind bars.

El Altiplano has been home to different generations of the Guzman family.

An old moral that resonates in the world of organized crime is that the only way out of that illicit business and environment involving drugs, weapons and violence is death or prison.

There are many stories that expose the tragic outcome that some cartel members have suffered, however, talking about the history of drug trafficking in Mexico is almost impossible without mentioning the Sinaloa Cartel.

In addition to being a key player in the reconfiguration of organized crime in Mexico, the criminal enterprise founded by Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán and Ismael El Mayo Zambada is a clear example of how its members, but also its top capos, have not escaped the warning that foreshadowed their unfortunate fate.

Members of El Chapo's family, for example, have gone from having their stronghold in Culiacan to spending a considerable part of their lives in the Federal Center for Social Readaptation (CEFERESO) No. 1 in Almoloya, State of Mexico, whose walls keep everything from their darkest secrets to memories of the memorable escape of the former Sinaloa drug trafficker.

El Chapo Guzmán's brother murdered at El Altiplano

Arturo Guzmán Loera was the younger brother of 'El Chapo' Guzmán.

Being sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a super-maximum security prison in the United States was just one more unfortunate episode in the series of tragic consequences of Joaquín Guzmán Loera becoming the founder of one of the most dangerous and powerful criminal organizations in Mexico and the world.

Although during the first decade of the 2000s his criminal business was slowly turning into an empire, the death of his brother Arturo Guzmán Loera and his son Édgar Guzmán López marked the Sinaloa drug lord's life forever.

Local press reports of the time indicate that, after El Chapo Guzmán was arrested in 1993 in Guatemala, El Pollo - as his brother-in-law was also known - took over the leadership of the Sinaloa Cartel and took charge of the children that Joaquín Guzmán Loera had already had with Alejandrina Salazar and Griselda López.

In 2001, the former drug trafficker orchestrated his first escape from the Puente Grande federal prison in Jalisco, a situation that led authorities to redouble their efforts to locate him and weaken his criminal organization.

That same year, Arturo Guzmán Loera was captured in the Mexican capital on charges related to cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking with the intention of being sent to the United States. El Chapo's brother was also accused of being the mastermind of a 60-meter narco tunnel that connected the border city of Tijuana with San Ysidro, California.

El Chapo's brother was one of the first members of the family to enter the maximum security prison

El Pollo was one of the first members of the Guzmán family to set foot in CEFERESO No. 1 -popularly known as El Altiplano-. In those years, the federal penitentiary considered Mexico's maximum security prison housed some of the most dangerous drug traffickers of the time, including some of Joaquín Guzmán Loera's most bitter enemies.

Although El Chapo tried to use his influence and most powerful cards to get his brother's release, everything proved insufficient when at 7:00 p.m. on December 31, 2004 Arturo Guzmán Loera was shot by another inmate in the lounge area of the federal penitentiary.

Chronicles of the time indicate that there were seven shots in the thorax and abdomen that ended El Pollo's life. Information released by the Decentralized Administrative Body for Prevention and Social Readaptation indicated that the person responsible for the crime was identified as José Ramírez Villanueva, who presumably committed the homicide on orders from Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, former leader of the Gulf Cartel and founder of Los Zetas, who was being held in the same prison.

Iván Archivaldo and the psychological torture of CEFERESO No. 1

Arrest of Iván Archivaldo Guzmán.

Being born with the Sinaloa Cartel as a cradle brought Joaquín Guzmán Loera's sons a series of benefits and privileges far from common. However, of the same size were the legal and personal consequences they have -and continue to- face.

In a recent exclusive interview that Dámaso López Serrano, alias Mini Lic, gave to journalist Anabel Hernández, the former partner of Los Chapitos said that during his youth, Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar used to have a ever-smiling and cheerful character.

The leader of the most powerful faction of the Sinaloa Cartel used to walk around armed, with arrogance feeling special in restaurants and nightclubs in Sinaloa and other states in the country, according to statements made by Mini Lic.

Parties and women were part of Chapito's daily life until he allegedly committed a heinous crime that led him to become another member of the Guzmán family to be imprisoned in the maximum security prison of El Altiplano.

Dámaso López Serrano told Anabel Hernández that in 2004 Iván Archivaldo went to a nightclub in Zapopan, Jalisco where he met a young Canadian woman he found attractive. However, the only thing he received from the woman identified as Kristen Paige at night was a big rejection.

"Ivan goes to a bar and has an altercation with a boy who was accompanying a young Canadian woman. They had some words because Ivan tries to reach something with the girl and the companion defends her, and when they leave the bar they start to argue. They were going to come to blows but Ivan and the person he was accompanying took out guns and shot the young men and they died," the former partner of Los Chapitos told the journalist.

A year later, El Chapito was arrested and sent to the maximum security prison located in Almoloya de Juárez, an event that had a considerable influence on his personality.

Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar was released from El Altiplano in 2008

According to the Mini Lic, Iván Archivaldo suffered too much during his time in prison. He cried every night because of the fear that his father's enemies could assassinate him at any moment, as happened to his uncle Arturo Guzmán Loera.

In addition, El Chapito was suffering the ravages of a brutal accident he suffered in December 2003 in which he almost lost one of his legs. At that time, his father began to give drug shipments to him and his brother Jesús Alfredo so that the profits from their sales would be divided between them.

Dámaso López Serrano said that in 2008, Iván Guzmán Salazar was released after his father and associates paid large bribes to different authorities.

The escape of 'El Chapo' Guzmán

El Chapo Guzmán was one of the most mediatic drug trafficking leaders

"The shit has hit the fan, 701 escaped!" was the cry that a guard at El Altiplano shouted when he noticed Joaquín Guzmán Loera was missing from his cell.

The testimony, gathered by journalist Óscar Balderas for MILENIO, narrated that at 9:00 p.m. on July 11, 2015, a code red was activated at the maximum security prison to close all accesses to the prison. It was too late, El Chapo had already escaped.

Joaquín Guzmán Loera had been held in the Almoloya de Juárez federal prison for 17 months after being captured for the second time on February 22, 2014 in a hotel in Mazatlán, Sinaloa.

Investigations by federal and US authorities suggested that the escape was masterminded by Emma Coronel -- the Sinaloa drug lord's wife -- in collusion with their four sons, who currently head the Chapitos faction.

The co-founder of the Sinaloa Cartel escaped from CEFERESO No. 1 through a tunnel that connected the bathroom of his cell to a house in a black construction site located in a vacant lot next to the prison. The building had electricity, a rail that El Chapo rode on a motorcycle and even oxygen.

Once outside the prison, Joaquín Guzmán Loera was transported in a pickup truck to San Juan del Río, Querétaro, where a small plane was waiting to take him to the Golden Triangle, where, among poppy and marijuana fields, he remained cautious until his final apprehension.

Ovidio Guzmán's path

Luis Chaparro reveals exclusive image of Ovidio Guzman in Chicago before his legal hearing.

As of this writing, the last of the Guzmán family to have set foot in El Altiplano maximum security prison was Ovidio Guzmán López.

Until 11:27 a.m. on September 15, 2023, El Raton was the 5684th inmate at El Altiplano prison, after which he was extradited to the United States in a stealth operation led by Interpol agents and the Attorney General's Office (FGR).

The member of Los Chapitos was the first son of Joaquín Guzmán Loera to be apprehended during the first days of 2023, after Mexican Armed Forces personnel deployed intense operations in the Jesús María district in Culiacán.

This was the second time that federal authorities tried to arrest Ovidio Guzmán, after the 2019 Culiacanazo scandal, this time mistakes were not allowed.

Despite the fact that hitmen working for Los Chapitos once again unleashed terror and shootings in the Sinaloa capital and surrounding municipalities to prevent the capture of El Ratón, federal authorities quickly airlifted Joaquín Guzmán Loera's son to Mexico City, where his allies could no longer do anything for him.

Ovidio Guzmán entered CEFERESO No. 1 days after his arrest. Due to his profile, he was placed in a sector isolated from the rest of the population. However, testimonies of guards collected by journalist Oscar Balderas described him as a young man who never looked for trouble.

El Raton's relaxed and friendly attitude was not enough to prevent his extradition to the United States, where authorities accused him and his brothers of heading an international fentanyl trafficking network that has unleashed a public health crisis in the country.

Different generations of the Guzman family have made the fortified walls of El Altiplano prison their second home, where much of their lives have been spent amid meticulous security protocols and quarrels with other imprisoned criminal leaders, but that fate remains even more viable than death or extradition.



  1. Imagine the pull chapo had in his heyday. How many top top capos have been imprisoned in the Altiplano and one one has escaped but he didn't only just escaped but did it in a fucking tunnel

    1. Chapo was boss

    2. So much pull his son cried

    3. 3:13 chapo cried too . Every man cries and if you say you don't you are a lier . Shit even the ultimate narco terrorist scumbag in Escobar was terrified of the American justice that he preferred a tomb in Colombia than a USA jail cell

    4. His son cried in a Mexican prison not American

    5. 319
      You're a chooch, Escobar didn't cry but chapo did to DEA.

    6. 3:25 3:48 I did time in feds in the USA . Trust me whenever I tell you even the "realest" mfs cry while doing time . Been around killers crying because their little girl or boy just graduated or is having birthdays and their locked up . The only mfs that show no damn emotions are the straight up sychos

    7. 354 did these realest mf'ers cry to DEA or police? Hell no, they cry by themselves, not in front of their enemy. It's a big difference. Keep making excuses for your papi Chapo.

    8. 3:54 funny thing is they were not crying in their corridos or when they were out killing other people, at the end of the day they are trash and they should be looked up as what they are HUMAN TRASH

    9. Guzman's= crybabies

    10. 7:00 I'll give you that about the exaggerating corridos but you would be surprised how many people switch up

    11. 6:15 stay in school kid

    12. 6:15 my guy nobody making excuses you seeing ghosts where they aren't any . I'm just saying as someone who done time everyone cries . Not everyone on here is a cheerleader like you

    13. Guys you say only straigh psychos dont cry, but if you have 1000's of deaths on your hands (weather it be by your hand or order) than you are a psycho, chapo, mayo, mencho, chapitos, you name it, they all psychos! But they are in the pussy psycho level 😂

    14. 10:34 most narcos are just bitches with out their guns and people just like on here most are kids that constantly fight back and forth about who is scummier between cjng and cds

    15. Only pull he has now is pulling his tank in his prison cell like a fool

    16. If he had pull why is he in prison ... Fools

    17. 1:52 tell me another narco that escaped max prison in a tunnel. Every dog gets his day and Chapo got his end of story . Fool

    18. 7:31 there has been plenty, not as famous as him dough, but lets look at it this way, if he had all this heat on him why would he walk around like he didnt? Shit chapo is a dumb ass, he was hiped up to a level he could be used when ever the government would see fit, he got the wrong side of the stick since the begining 😂 punk felt for it

    19. 9:50 tell me a name then bro ? Top top level narco that escaped from the top maximum security prison in their respected countries? Especially with a tunnel.La catedral with Escobar don't count.I'll wait ..
      Let's look at it this way . People like chapo where born dirt poor so anything flashy especially female celebraties they gotta have. If chapo hadn't agreed to meet Kate and sean there is a strong chance he would still be out and about right now. His little horny midget ass got the better of him. For all I care he can stay in adx Florence but look at it how you want it JGL escaped from the most secure prison in Mexico in a damn tunnel.

  2. Don't know how true this is but my cousin is doing fed time and we write to each other every now and then. He was saying how he is cellmates with this guy that was locked up in new York in the same joint chapo first arrived whenever he hit US soil and that both the girls and guys inmates gave him a hero's welcome that everyone was clapping for him and I even think new York post it times did an article on the situation


    2. I wonder if they still chanting his name in florence?

  3. I think I'll get liposuction como Oviedo Guzman.

  4. Off-topic, but please send help to the good people of Acapulco..
    Nobody's got a pot to piss in down here..

    1. Thanks to emlo he stole all the money for situiations like that

    2. That lazy butt President of Mexico, should retire, he does little for its people. I am surprised he still has not sent aid.

    3. 438 not funny. At least 45 Mexicanos died from Otis.

    4. 4:21 you've been missing several days señor🦎. Can you give us your opinion on the municipal, state and federal government efforts regarding Huracán Otis?

    5. Send help!? From where the USA? Shouldn’t the cartels that have ruined the city for everyone on the planet take care of that?? Or maybe the corrupt government of Mexico?? Mexico only wants a handout but never wants the solution.
      Sorry son the USA is spending billions on Ukrainian problems and ongoing shit in the Middle East right now. BTW get used to living with no water or electricity WW 3 is coming.

    6. 9:39
      Things are looking up..
      No water, but some electricity in more and more barrios..
      Mountains of debris, the million mile per hour vientos scourged the city, scouring the graffiti right off the walls..
      On day 2, Bomberos de Puebla showed up, yesterday a couple red trucks with Hidalgo licence plates (maybe cristianos) were distributing fresh vegetables to the down-on-their-luck inhabitants of the dive bar and cheap hooker district La Noria..
      So my personal shout-out to those neighboring states.
      All kinds of govt vehicles with different acronyms, La Guardia protecting the Pemex gasolineras, some cops with 'zorros' emblazoned on their backs, unfamiliar with them..
      Long lines for dispensas, water, diapers, papel, rice, oil, beans, etc..
      Oxxos, Circle K, Walmart, Sherwin Williams paint stores, Telcel all ganked of every item on the shelves, the kids who worked as cashier's started giving away free beer, and from there the looting was ON..
      Pretty quick response on the part of the govt once the road to Mexico was cleared..
      Folks still in shock..

    7. Lizard Man
      Thats good your putting Obrador on the spotlight, some in here will understand what your saying and others will put a blind eye because they love him.
      Out of his daily conferences he loves to have in the morning, no mention about Alcapulco. Funny Funky how politics work. He cares less about his people and more about bribes coming in.

  5. El sierra from cdg just got dropped in queretaro

  6. Hopefully he gets a really long sentence at least 30 years

  7. I don’t believe Mini’s bullshit stories for a second…

    1. Why wouldn’t you? Lic was Chapos right hand until he got extradited. He literally was giving him the leadership of the cartel until Chapitos fought them and killed their family. ML was close to them all for so long. He doesn’t have incentive to lie at this point.

    2. 6:39 i dont believe you for a mini second, so you are saying chapitos kidnapped didnt go the way he said?

  8. We're gonna fix this fucked up family for good.


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