If he is not caught immediately, Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman, who escaped from a Mexican prison Saturday night, will likely be back in full command and control of the Sinaloa Cartel in 48 hours, says Michael Vigil, a retired Drug Enforcement Administration chief of international operations. “We may never find him again,” Vigil said. “All the accolades that Mexico has received in their counterdrug efforts will be erased by this one event.” Thirty employees of the Altiplano prison, 55 miles west of Mexico City, have been taken in for questioning, the federal Attorney General’s Office said.
The U.S. offered everything it has, including marshals, drones, even a special task force, to help recapture him. The Mexicans have kept the Americans at bay, without giving an answer on the extra help, reports the New York Times. Officials say the delay has confounded law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border and undermined efforts to find Guzmán, the billionaire head of the Sinaloa cartel. “It's frustrating,” said Carl Pike, a retired official of the DEA’s Special Operations Division for the Americas. “It was a lot of work by a lot of really good people to put him in there, and then to just put him in a situation where he can climb in a tunnel and get away?” Given Guzmán's use of tunnels at the border and under safe houses, Pike said: “It's kind of like a joke. 'Gee, a tunnel, who would have thought.' It's kind of a no-brainer.”