First he ducks into the shower of his prison cell, fully clothed. Then he leans down, but it’s not clear what the infamous drug lord is doing; the short shower wall blocks him from the surveillance camera.
Seconds later, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman gets back up, sits down on his cell bed and changes his shoes. He goes back into the shower and bends down again behind the wall — but never resurfaces.
Guzman, Mexico’s most notorious drug kingpin, slipped through a hole under the shower and escaped through a mile-long tunnel to freedom, authorities said.
And the newly released closed-circuit video shows how calmly and easily he did it.
Mexican Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong said Guzman’s cell was videotaped 24 hours a day. But the surveillance had two blind spots for privacy — the toilet and the shower.
Guzman didn’t just evade the cameras; he also sidestepped another security measure with alarming ease.
Guzman had a bracelet that monitored his every move, the interior minister said. But he left the bracelet behind before he crawled into the tunnel.
‘The hunt is back on’
Where Guzman could be hiding out now is anyone’s guess.
Investigators on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border are searching for signs of the fugitive drug lord. But it’s no easy task, a top Drug Enforcement Administration official said.
“The cartel headed by Chapo is probably the most well-financed, vicious, criminal entity we have ever seen, with unlimited resources both to bribe, corrupt and to transport,” Deputy DEA Administrator Jack Riley said. “So our job in this particular case, as much as it was over year ago when we captured him, is to use every legal tool we can, cooperate with our counterparts, and hit the ground. The hunt is back on.”
The United States and Mexico are exchanging intelligence — including details from informants — in the manhunt, and the United States is providing technical support, a Mexican official said.
Reports claiming authorities from the two countries aren’t working together simply aren’t true, Riley said.
“Chapo is hoping and planning on the fact that the good guys, the cops on both sides of the border, don’t talk to each other, don’t connect the dots,” Riley said. “And I’m here to tell you we’re doing that better now than we have ever done it. And if I was him, I’d be looking over my shoulder.”
Prison officials fired, dozens more questioned
It’s likely prison workers helped Guzman break out, the interior minister told reporters. Osorio Chong said he has already fired the prison director and other prison officials.
At least 49 people have been questioned in connection with the Saturday escape, a Mexican official said.
Mexican authorities announced a $3.8 million reward for information leading to Guzman’s capture.
They released what they said was a recent picture of Guzman, showing him with a shaved head and face — but without his trademark mustache.
How he did it
Guzman took a sophisticated route during his escape, officials believe: a tunnel complete with lighting, ventilation and even a modified motorcycle on tracks “that was likely used to remove dirt during the excavation and transport the tools for the dig,” Mexican National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said.
The tunnel began with a 50-by-50-centimeter (20-by-20-inch) opening inside the shower of Guzman’s cell, Rubido said. The tunnel stretched for about a mile and ended inside a half-built house.
It’s likely the Sinaloa cartel had spent years infiltrating the country’s prison system, a Mexican official told CNN. Whoever helped in the plot likely had the architectural plans for the prison that pointed them toward the shower area, the official said.
And this wasn’t the first time.
Nicknamed “Shorty” for his height, Guzman already had pulled off one elaborate escape from a maximum-security prison. In 2001, he managed to break free while reportedly hiding in a laundry cart. It took authorities 13 years to catch him — closing in as he was sleeping at a Mexican beach resort.
‘A complete savage’
The Sinaloa cartel moves drugs by land, air and sea, including cargo aircraft, private aircraft, buses, fishing vessels and even submarines, the U.S. Justice Department has said.
The cartel has become so powerful that Forbes magazine listed Guzman in its 2009 list of “self-made” billionaires. Guzman’s estimated fortune at the time was $1 billion.
Guzman has been a nightmare for both sides of the border. He reigns over a multibillion-dollar global drug empire that supplied much of the marijuana, cocaine and heroin sold on the streets of the United States.
Chicago has labeled him the city’s “Public Enemy No. 1.”
And Riley, who spent years fighting Guzman’s cartel there, said he’s personally angered over the escape.
“I spent nearly five years fighting what he was doing to the city, what he was doing to the communities by bringing heroin in and working a business relationship with street gangs,” he said. “For me, personally, it was a milestone to see him in jail. And when I got the call at 2:30 in the morning last Saturday, I about passed out.”
But no matter what it takes, he said, investigators will find a way to capture him.
“I am sure his security is probably second to none in the country. But that’s not going to deter us. It didn’t deter us the first time,” Riley said. “This guy is going to be back in jail.”
CNN’s Josh Gaynor, Marilia Brocchetto, Ashley Fantz, Eliott C. McLaughlin and Evan Perez and CNN en Español’s Juan Carlos Lopez and Krupskaia Alis, contributed to this report.