Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A former Sinaloa Cartel lieutenant on Wednesday implicated Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's wife, sons and brother-in-law in the accused Mexican drug lord's second escape from prison.
Damaso Lopez Nunñez, a high-ranking member in the cartel allegedly led by Guzman, testified that Guzman's wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, relayed orders from her husband as he plotted his escape from Altiplano prison in 2015.
Lopez described meetings between 2014 and 2015 when Coronel instructed the cartel members to build a tunnel out of the prison leading to a plot of land that was to be purchased by Guzman's four adult sons.
Lopez added he was tasked with overseeing the work, securing a nearby warehouse and obtaining weapons.
Coronel, who hasn't been charged in the case and has attended most days of the trial, didn't comment on Lopez's testimony.
Guzman's team smuggled a GPS tracker into the prison to acquire the exact location for the tunnel and began work on the passage, which stretched into 2015 and prompted complaints from other inmates due to the noise.
Lopez also testified the concrete below Guzman's cell "had been very difficult to break through."
Guzman later relayed instructions that the escape take place on a weekend when top officials would be away from the prison.
On July 11, 2015, the accused drug kingpin slipped through an opening in the floor of his shower, climbed into the tunnel and was taken to the property his sons purchased on a motorcycle driven by an associate, Lopez testified.
Guzman was then taken away from the property to an airport on an ATV driven by his brother-in-law and flown to the Sinaloa mountains.
Six months later Guzman was recaptured and taken to a Juarez prison. Lopez testified that Coronel began coordinating another escape plan, but Guzman was ultimately extradited to the United States in January 2017.
Lopez is expected to be the last major cooperating witness to testify in Guzman's two-month trial, in which he faces 17 counts, including drug trafficking, money laundering and other charges.