Mexican bishops say prison escape shows complicity, depth of corruption

By Catholic News Service

MEXICO CITY (CNS) — Bishops across Mexico expressed incredulity with the escape of the country’s most notorious inmate and said it showed the complicity of public officials with drug cartels and the depth of corruption in the country.

Drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman slipped out of a maximum-security prison — for the second time — from the shower area of his cell through a nearly mile-long tunnel.

"Mexicans should make a monument to ‘El Chapo’ because, in a single stroke, he showed the size of our corruption," Bishop Raul Vera Lopez of Saltillo told reporters.

"It’s hard to understand an escape by a person like him from an extremely high security center if there isn’t complicity," said Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega of Guadalajara.

Guzman is leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, which grew into the most powerful and quite possibly most profitable criminal organization as it moved drugs from South America through Central America and Mexico to the United States and beyond. The cartel gained fame for its construction of tunnels to move drugs under the U.S.-Mexico border.

The cartel is so culturally and economically ingrained in Sinaloa that Guzman’s escape was greeted with "music" and "guns being fired in the air," said Javier Valdez, founder of the Sinaloa news outlet Rio Doce. "He continued being a powerful person from his prison cell."

Guzman was captured in Guatemala in 1993, but he was wheeled out of a Guadalajara-area prison in a laundry cart. Mexican officials captured him in Mazatlan in February 2014 and locked him in a high-security facility 50 miles west of Mexico City — opting against extraditing him to the United States.

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