MEXICO CITY — To build a tunnel about a mile long and 30 feet below Mexico’s highest-security prison, the rescuers of drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán would have needed to haul away several hundred truckloads of earth and use excavating power tools that would have been difficult not to hear.
To guide their burrowing exactly under the shower stall in Hall 2, Cell 20, of the special-treatment wing for the country’s most dangerous criminals, the tunnelers would have needed detailed knowledge of the prison’s layout, information considered a state secret.
And Mexico’s prison administrators had to have been aware of the risk of an escape attempt — Guzmán had made his way out of a high-security prison once before.
During the year and a half that Guzmán was incarcerated in Altiplano Prison, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration told Mexican officials that his relatives and associates were plotting various efforts to try to spring him from jail, according to U.S. law enforcement officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Mexican officials in the attorney general’s office and on the National Security Commission said Monday that they had no information about whether they had received American warnings in the past.