Mexico charges seven with aiding drug lord’s escape

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Mexico City, July 18 (IANS/EFE) The Mexican attorney general’s office is asking a judge to order seven public employees held for trial on charges of assisting in last weekend’s jailbreak by drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, a federal official said on Friday.

Prosecutors’ decision to bring the seven before a judge “means there are sufficient elements to presume their responsibility” for the crime, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The judge will have 72 hours to decide whether to release the seven employees or have them bound over for trial, the source said.

In a subsequent statement, the attorney general’s office vowed to act “against all those persons… who participated in any way in the events of July 11.”

Eleven other public employees detained for questioning in the case have been released, capital daily El Universal said in its online edition.

Another Mexico City newspaper, Milenio, said 15 people were freed after interrogation, but with the condition that they make themselves available as needed throughout the course of the investigation.

Guzman escaped from the Altiplano I federal prison in central Mexico on July 11 night through a 1.5-km tunnel that led to a house.

The Sinaloa cartel boss had been held at the prison in Mexico state since his arrest on February 22, 2014.

This is not the first time “El Chapo” (Shorty) has busted out of a high-security prison.

On January 19, 2001, with just seven months remaining on a sentence for bribery, Guzman escaped from the Puente Grande penitentiary in the western state of Jalisco by hiding in a cart full of dirty laundry.

Guzman’s organisation rose to become one of the main sources of illicit drugs entering the US.

The Mexican kingpin’s wealth led to his name regularly appearing on Forbes magazine’s list of global billionaires.

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