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'El Chapo' prison director freed, but authorities maintain she had role in escape

By Andrew V. Pestano
'El Chapo' prison director freed, but authorities maintain she had role in escape
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, an infamous drug kingpin, twice escaped prison. The former director of the Altiplano Federal Prison from which Guzman escaped was recently released from prison. She is being investigated by Mexican authorities over alleged involvement in helping Guzman escape in July of 2015. Photo courtesy of Mexico's Attorney General

MEXICO CITY, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- A Mexican court has released Leonor García, the former director of the Altiplano Federal Prison from which drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman escaped.

Mexico's Third Collegiate Court of the Second Circuit ordered the release of Garcia pending further review as part of her appeal. Mexico's Attorney General's Office said that while it respected the court's decision, the agency maintains that García is guilty -- adding that the court rejected key evidence in the case.

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"The Attorney General's Office is respectful of this judgment and the areas of competence in the administration of justice," Mexico's Attorney General's Office said in a statement. "However, the Public Ministry of the Federation maintains its conviction about the responsibility of the person prosecuted under that, as noted in the detailed analysis of the resolution, the judging authority rejected key elements to support the accusations against Leonor García."

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The Attorney General's Office said that García could still be imprisoned again as there are two separate judicial processes against her and another appeal.

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García is one of dozens of Mexican officials and citizens either investigated or arrested in connection to Guzman's escape. Guzman was first arrested 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. He was captured in the city of Los Mochis in his home state of Sinaloa on Jan. 8 after escaping from Mexico's Altiplano Federal Prison last year.

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