When Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, was arrested in Mexico in February of 2014, former federal prosecutor Andrew Porter said authorities tried to have him extradited to the U.S.
Porter was supervising the federal case filed against Guzman in Chicago and he said they wanted to get Guzman as far as possible from his stronghold of support in Mexico. Guzman had previously escaped from another Mexican prison in 2001 and it took more than a decade to rearrest him.
“I think we would have a very high degree of confidence that Chapo Guzman would not escape from a United States institution,” Porter said.
But Guzman was not extradited and this past weekend escaped from a high-security prison in Mexico through a mile-long tunnel. The indictment in Chicago charges Guzman with smuggling drugs into the U.S. using multiple means, including tunnels.
Porter says he was frustrated when he heard Guzman had escaped again.
“Just real frustration that all the hard work that went into finding him, that’s sort of down the drain and here we go again,” said Porter.
Porter said he doesn’t think Guzman’s escape immediately means more drugs on the streets of Chicago, because the Sinaloa cartel continued to operate with Guzman in jail. But Porter also notes that drug leaders rise in their organizations because they’re good at what they do.