Leaked ‘El Chapo’ Escape Video Adds to Skepticism in Mexico

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An unauthenticated video has surfaced in which guards appear to ignore the sounds of tunneling prior to the escape of Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman from prison in Mexico, throwing the government’s official version of events into further disarray.

The video, broadcast by Mexican TV channel Televisa, is of CCTV footage showing El Chapo in his cell on July 11, the night of his escape from the Altiplano maximum-security prison through a 1.5 km tunnel. (See video below) The video is a longer version of that released by the Mexican government following El Chapo’s escape, and also includes audio.

In the video, at around 8:46 pm, the sounds of drilling and hammering become noticeably audible. Yet a split-screen video shot of El Chapo’s cell and the control center where prisoners are monitored shows the noise stirs no response or alarm from guards.

Construction noises are heard at least four more times over the next five minutes. At 8:52 pm, El Chapo approaches his shower stall, crouches down, and disappears.

Following this, it takes prison guards roughly 26 minutes to raise the alarm, and they do not enter El Chapo’s cell until 9:29 pm. Authorities estimate El Chapo needed 15 minutes to make his way through the tunnel.

According to Milenio, other Altiplano prisoners housed on the same cell block claim to have heard tunneling noises in the week leading up to El Chapo’s escape, but were threatened into remaining silent.

Mexican Senator Alejandro Encinas Rodriguez decried the video as proof that the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto has withheld evidence of El Chapo’s escape, El Universal reported.

National Security Commissioner Renato Sales, however, denied the government had concealed evidence, saying the video would be submitted to technical analysis.

InSight Crime Analysis

The authenticity of this leaked footage remains uncertain. For instance, Alberto de la Cruz — a lawyer representing 11 federal police arrested by Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (PGR) for facilitating El Chapo’s escape — has claimed the security cameras do not have audio capacity, and that the PGR doctored and leaked the video to Televisa to inculpate his clients.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of El Chapo

Regardless, the video will feed doubt over the government’s official version of El Chapo’s escape. Indeed, almost immediately, conspiracy theories began to circulate over how El Chapo managed to break out of prison, with some skeptics maintaining he walked out the front door.

These rumors are fueled by popular mistrust of the Peña Nieto administration, whose government has lost credibility for its mishandling of recent investigations — such as that into the 2014 disappearance of 43 students near Iguala and massacre of 22 people in Tlatlaya. In these instances, the government has been accused of obstructing investigations, either intentionally or through incompetence — criticisms to which this new El Chapo video will only add.

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