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Mexico offering $3.8 million reward for Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman capture

By Andrew V. Pestano
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Mexico offering $3.8 million reward for Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman capture
The latest image of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzman, who escaped from a Mexican maximum-security prison for the second time Saturday night by using a mile-long tunnel. Photo courtesy of Mexico's Attorney General.

MEXICO CITY, July 14 (UPI) -- The Mexican government is offering nearly $3.8 million as a reward for information that leads up to the capture of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán.

Guzmán escaped from a Mexican maximum-security prison for the second time Saturday night by using a mile-long tunnel.

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Although U.S. officials are upset Guzmán escaped, they are showing support. U.S. authorities asked to have the drug kingpin extradited last year due to fears that he could escape.

"In addition to his crimes in Mexico, he faces multiple drug trafficking and organized crime charges in the United States," U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said. "The U.S. government stands ready to work with our Mexican partners to provide any assistance that may help support his swift recapture."

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"This is exactly why we argued for his extradition," another U.S. law enforcement official told CNN, adding that the escape shows "the strength of the cartel and his ability to pay people off. If this guy can get out of prison it shows how deep the corruption is there."

Mexico's organized crime officials have questioned 49 people, including 32 prison employees, about Guzmán's escape. Three prison officials have been fired, including the prison's director, accused of being involved in the scheme.

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Guzmán was last seen at the Altiplano Federal Prison in the town of Almoloya de Juarez of the State of Mexico at 8:52 p.m. He escaped through a tunnel in a shower area, where inmates are also allowed to wash clothing.

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The entrance of the tunnel measured about 20-by-20 inches and the tunnel itself was about 5 feet deep. PVC piping, likely used for ventilation and lighting, were found throughout the tunnel. A motorcycle was also found inside, apparently used to dig and to transport materials for the tunnel, according to National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido, who visited the prison.

Guzmán was the head of the Sinaloa Cartel and was estimated to be worth about $1 billion.

El Chapo -- meaning "The Short One" or "shorty" -- so dubbed because of his 5-foot-6-inch frame, was captured in Guatemala in 1993 and then extradited to Mexico to face murder and drug trafficking charges. He escaped from prison in 2001 by bribing prison guards and was re-captured in February 2014. Guzmán's previous escape cost him about $2.5 million.

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