Three prisoners wanted by the United States for their links to drug trafficking, including an alleged associate of the sons of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, on Wednesday escaped from a Mexico City prison, authorities said.
Mexico and the United States, its most important trade partner, have been looking for ways to address the escalating security situation as well as clamp down on illegal drug and arms trade.
Mexican authorities said the prisoners escaped from a penitentiary in southern Mexico City on Wednesday morning, possibly with the help of prison staff.
“The escape of an inmate from this prison cannot be carried out without the involvement of public servants,” Rosa Icela Rodriguez, interior minister for the Mexico City government, told reporters.
Antonio Hazael Ruiz, deputy minister for the city’s prison system, said the escapees had to get past five locked doors. Ten prison staff are being investigated for their possible involvement, Ruiz added.
Luis Meza and Victor Felix Beltran, both from Culiacan, in the western state of Sinaloa, had been held for drug trafficking while Yael Osuna, from Nayarit, had been held for being part of a criminal association.
Beltran, known as “El Vic”, managed the finances of Guzman’s sons, local media reported. It was not immediately clear when the United States had submitted the request for their extradition.
Guzmans’s children, collectively known as “Los Chapitos”, enhanced their family’s near-mythical outlaw reputation last year when hundreds of heavily-armed Sinaloa Cartel henchmen poured into Culiacan to rescue one of Guzman’s detained sons, briefly taking hostage the modern city of a million people.
Guzman himself escaped from two high-security prisons in Mexico but was eventually captured and extradited to the United States.
Last year, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole and moved to a high security facility in Colorado after being convicted in a U.S. court of smuggling tons of drugs to the United States over a colourful, decades-long career.