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Mastermind of 'El Chapo' escape, 5 others arrested in Mexico

By Andrew V. Pestano
Mexico has arrested six people who are suspected of having a key role in the escape of notorious drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, including his brother-in-law and the apparent mastermind. Guzman traveled to the city of Queretaro after his escape from the Altiplano maximum-security prison before flying on a small plane to Sinaloa. Photo courtesy of Mexico's Attorney General
Mexico has arrested six people who are suspected of having a key role in the escape of notorious drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, including his brother-in-law and the apparent mastermind. Guzman traveled to the city of Queretaro after his escape from the Altiplano maximum-security prison before flying on a small plane to Sinaloa. Photo courtesy of Mexico's Attorney General

MEXICO CITY, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Mexico has arrested six people who are suspected of having a key role in the escape of notorious drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, including his brother-in-law and the apparent mastermind of the prison break.

Mexican officials said one of the two pilots who flew Guzman to his home state of Sinaloa was arrested, as well as a member of Guzman's legal team -- described as the mastermind of the escape.

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The alleged mastermind entered the high-security prison where Guzman was held to update Guzman on the escape operation's progress, Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez told reporters on Wednesday. Guzman's brother-in-law is accused of organizing transportation and supervising the construction of the tunnel Guzman used to escape.

Guzman traveled to the city of Queretaro after his escape from the Altiplano maximum-security prison and then flew on a small plane to Sinaloa.

"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," Gomez said.

The identities of all the suspects arrested have not been revealed.

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The arrests come days after Mexican television channel Televisa broadcasted the CCTV footage of Guzman's escape, the longer version of a video authorities previously released but without sound and only showing the moments before Guzman disappeared.

Guzman escaped from a Mexican prison for the second time in July by using a mile-long tunnel, which could have taken a year to build. At least three others have also been charged over the escape.

The entrance of the tunnel measured about 20-by-20 inches and the tunnel itself was about 5 feet deep. Other sections of the tunnel delve much deeper. PVC piping, likely used for ventilation and lighting, was found throughout the tunnel. A motorcycle was also found, apparently used to dig and to transport materials for the tunnel.

In April, a lawyer for Guzman was caught sneaking a woman into the prison for the drug kingpin.

"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 hiding in a laundry cart after bribing prison guards, and was re-captured in February 2014. Guzman's previous escape cost him about $2.5 million.

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