Photos show slim tunnel with oxygen pipes overhead and rails on ground
Astonishing pictures of the mile-long tunnel through which Sinaloa Cartel boss El Chapo made his escape from a maximum-security prison have emerged today.
The photographs show the tunnel's motorbike on wheels, ventilation pipes and a ladder in the shaft connecting the tunnel to the jail.
The motorbike, which was secured at its front wheel to the rails, was waiting for El Chapo as he descended into the tunnel from the prison shower block on Saturday night.
It is believed he spent $50million on the elaborate underground escape route, which took his engineers around a year to complete.
The slim tunnel, complete with oxygen-supply piping overhead, was bored by the Sinaloa Cartel’s expert mining engineers, using professional equipment. They would have had to remove more than 3,250 tonnes of earth.
Cartel leader El Chapo, who got his nickname ('The Shorty') from his 5ft 6ins stature, would have been able to stand up in the tunnel.
He prised open a grill in the prison showers, unnoticed by guards, before climbing down a 32ft shaft into the tunnel.
In a video interview, Pablo Escobar’s former chief henchman estimated that El Chapo’s escape would have cost in the region of $50million.
Speaking to news channel Univision, Escobar’s top gunman known as ‘Popeye’, said that tunnelling out of maximum security prison is very difficult without the complicity of at least some of the guards, who are equipped with highly sensitive sonar equipment that will pick up any mining activity.
More than 30 employees who worked at the prison have already been pulled in for questioning in the course of the interview.
Three prison system officials have been fired, including the prison director.
And in a previous prison escape El Chapo had bribed prison guards to push him out of the Puente Grande maximum-security prison, in the western state of Jalisco, in a laundry cart.
Mexico has offered a reward of $3.8million for his capture, while Mexican security forces continue to search for the fugitive with the help of neighbouring countries, including the U.S.