It was 5.50 in the morning of Wednesday at the Reclusorio Sur in Mexico City. A large white van was about to leave the prison to transfer an inmate to the Rubén Leñero Hospital, 30 kilometers north of the Mexican capital. But in the vehicle there was not just one prisoner. Three other prisoners, linked to the Sinaloa cartel, were inside. The criminals, required by the United States and among which was the financial operator of the children of El Chapo Guzmán, mocked the security measures of the prison with the help of several custodians.
The escape has put the Administration of Claudia Sheinbaum, the Head of Government of the capital, on which the prison center depends. This Thursday, the local authorities have released the details that allowed the evasion, which reminds again of the ease with which the corrupting arm of crime bends Mexican authorities.
The five locks that communicated to the prisoners’ cells, two from Sinaloa and one from Nayarit, were open and without locks. On the way there were several broken bars and the fugitives used shears to cut cables. The last obstacle before getting freedom was a fence, which they raffled with a small ladder. There the van was waiting for them. The entire tour was captured by security cameras and some of these images were revealed this Thursday.
This is how Luis Fernando Meza González, Víctor Manuel Félix Beltrán escaped aka El Vic, and Yael Osuna Navarro. The three awaited an extradition process to be sent to the United States, where they face trials for crimes against public health and criminal association. The Vic, stopped in 2017, He was one of the financial brains of the children of El Chapo, who have remained in the dome of the cartel after the sentence that his father is serving in perpetuity in a US maximum security prison.
There was no news in the last list pass that was made Tuesday in the prison, at 19.30. Twelve hours later, on Wednesday morning, the list showed no irregularities. But the three inmates were already missing. At 8:00 a.m., when the third shift of custodians entered, the leak was reported. There the evasion protocol began, which consists of closing all the entrances and exits. The authorities deployed 350 police officers in 25 points of the city. But the operation was not successful. The inmates got off the van on the way to the hospital at three undefined points.
“We are all under investigation,” Rosa Icela Rodríguez, secretary of government of Mexico City, said Thursday at a conference with Sheinbaum and the Secretary of Public Safety, Omar García Harfuch. Rodriguez asked for the immediate resignation of the director of the South Prison, Omar Tonatiuh Zamora Mendoza and the head of custodians of the prison.
So far, 22 officials of all levels have given their statement. Eight custodians have been arrested because they are believed to have ties to the Sinaloa cartel and tried to bribe more public servants, Ulises Lara, spokesman for the local prosecutor’s office reported Thursday.
Sheinbaum has strongly criticized the judiciary. The Head of Government has indicated that there are prisoners of the federal jurisdiction who should not be in prisons in the capital. However, they are there because they requested amparos or because they were sent by the judges. “We do not think it appropriate to protect prisoners who should be in high security prisons,” said the head of government.
This has made suspicions fall on some judges, who are already being investigated. Among them is Felipe de Jesús Delgadillo Padierna, who sent Julio César Estrada to Reclusorio Sur. Federal judges Ganter Alejandro Villar Ceballos and Marco Vargas Solano are also investigated for authorizing the transfer of Víctor Manuel Félix to the same center. The Vic He had a court order to remain in that prison, Rodríguez said.
In Mexico City there are 13 prisons, many in overcrowded conditions, where 24,765 inmates live together. Only 70 are in the process of extradition, a priority group especially in the international fight against drug trafficking.
Corruption and anarchy within Mexican penalties is not a new phenomenon. More than a hundred extortion calls are made every day from the prisons of the capital, according to the Citizen Council for Security and Justice. To the bad reputation of the center is added this episode of a new escape of three dangerous criminals of organized crime.