Federal prison where El Chapo escaped in a laundry cart is now closed

“stevectpa” for Borderland Beat; Semanario Zeta

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman escaped from this prison in 2001 

Francisco Alfonso Durazo Montaño, head of Mexico’s Secretariat of Security and Civilian Protection (SSPC), announced on September 28 an agreement that disincorporates the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 2, better known as “Puente Grande”, located near the municipality of El Salto, Jalisco.

Former Sinaloa Cartel kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman escaped from Puente Grande on January 19, 2001, reportedly by hiding in a laundry cart. The current head of the SSPC was the private secretary of the then-President Vicente Fox Quesada. El Chapo dodged international manhunt for more than a decade after escaping from Puente Grande, and went from being an mid-tier drug lord to arguably one of the world’s most-wanted men.

The decision to close the prison was made based on a federal law prevision that said that all prisons in Mexico should have adequate infrastructure, access to basic human needs and resources to serve prison populations.

According to the SSPC, Puente Grande was failing to meet this requirement. The people housed in Puente Grande will be transferred other federal prisons determined by the SSPC. They said that they will carry out the necessary actions and procedures to respect human rights during their transfers.

Puente Grande is the second largest prison of its kind in Mexico. The biggest one is the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1, commonly referred to as “Altiplano”, based in the State of Mexico.

Other relevant figures have been imprisoned in Puente Grande, including: Antonio Vera Palestina, the murderer of Héctor ‘El Gato; Félix Miranda, the journalist co-founder of the Tijuana weekly Zeta (Zeta originally published this report that Borderland Beat is translating); Sinaloan capo Rafael Caro Quintero, founder of the Guadalajara Cartel; Héctor Luis ‘El Güero’ Palma Salazar, former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel; and Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales, the ‘Z-40’, high-ranking Zetas member.