Six key people, who allegedly helped fugitive drug cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman escape from jail in July, have been arrested in Mexico.
Among those detained is El Chapo Guzman’s brother-in-law and one of the two pilots who flew Guzman to his home state.
Mexico’s attorney general said a member of Guzman’s legal team, described as the mastermind, was also arrested.
El Chapo Guzman, aka Shorty, head of the Sinaloa cartel, escaped from a high-security prison through a specially dug tunnel.
Attorney General Arely Gomez told reporters on October 21 that the suspected mastermind of the escape had repeatedly entered Altiplano prison to visit El Chapo Guzman and update him on the operation’s progress.
She also said El Chapo Guzman’s brother-in-law had supervised the construction of the mile-long escape tunnel and organized transport.
“Today we are able to affirm that the group responsible for planning, organizing and carrying out the escape from outside the prison has been broken up,” Arely Gomez said, without naming the suspects.
The development comes days after officials revealed the drugs lord had suffered face and leg injuries when he narrowly evaded a police operation to recapture him in north-west Mexico earlier this month.
Arely Gomez confirmed on October 21 that after his escape, El Chapo Guzman traveled by land to the city of Queretaro, from where he caught a small plane to his home state of Sinaloa.
The drug lord’s escape was an embarrassment for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who El Chapo Guzman taunted on Twitter after the event.
Several prison officials have already been arrested under suspicion of giving inside help to El Chapo Guzman, who fled through a tunnel that ran one mile from under a shower in his cell to outside the prison.
He was first arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and spent nearly a decade in another maximum-security Mexican jail before escaping, reportedly in a laundry basket.
El Chapo Guzman was on the run for 13 years before being held again in 2014 after a series of high-profile arrests of associates and covert surveillance by the US authorities.