The tunnel that Mexican authorities believe drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman used to escape from a maximum security prison likely cost millions of dollars to build and took a year to make, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency official said.
"The tunnel had to cost maybe $5 million," Michael S. Vigil, former chief of international operations for the DEA, told the Los Angeles Times. "But $5 million to El Chapo would be like $5 to you or I." Guzman was sent to Altiplano, 50 miles west of Mexico City, more than a year ago, and Vigil believes that construction on the tunnel started within days of his arrival. Photos of the mile-long tunnel show lighting and a ventilation system made of PVC pipes. It is about 5 feet, 6 inches high — tall enough for Guzman, who is rumored to be no taller than 5 feet, 5 inches. "Guzman has hired some of the best individuals that deal with mining technology, and he provides them with resources to buy the best equipment," Vigil said. "They tailor-made the tunnel for him."
Guzman is thought to have escaped through an opening inside his prison shower. He then descended 30 feet, went through the tunnel, and ended up at a house under construction surrounded by empty fields. It would have been difficult for someone not to know what was happening, and more than 30 prison employees are now being questioned. Guzman's cartel, Sinaloa, is the largest and most lucrative trafficker of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana into the U.S., the Times reports, and Vigil said Guzman has long utilized tunnels to get his drugs into the U.S.
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