Letter from El Chapo suggests prison officials fear he's plotting another escape

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff and Christine Tressel WLS logo
Tuesday, August 8, 2023
El Chapo letter suggests prison officials fear another escape plot
Nobody has ever broken out of the SuperMax prison in Colorado.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- El Chapo tunneled out of the last Mexican prison where he was locked up and rode to freedom on an underground motorcycle.

That was his second escape. The ABC7 I-Team has a new letter from El Chapo in which he implies U.S. prison officials are bullying him because he has escaped before.

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Nobody has ever broken out of the SuperMax prison in Colorado. Since opening in 1994, the airtight penitentiary, known as the "Alcatraz of the Rockies," has housed the worst of the worst.

That Includes billionaire cartel kingpin Joaquin El Chapo Guzman. Like the rest, he is segregated and on permanent lockdown 23 hours a day.

El Chapo wrote a letter to the U.S. judge and Chicago native who sent him here.

In an English translation filed Monday and obtained by the I-Team, Chapo says prison authorities are preventing him from receiving attorney documents for new court motions.

"They always use the excuse that it's because Guzman fled from a Mexican prison," he writes. "This is a ridiculous claim [used to] justify the anomalies."

He didn't just flee from one Mexican prison. In 2015, El Chapo escaped from a jailhouse trapped door, through an underground tunnel on a motorcycle and out the other end. In 2001, he also escaped from a different Mexican prison.

Months after the most recent escape, Chapo was recaptured following a shootout with Mexican commandos who had hunted him down, and he was brought to the U.S., where a federal jury in New York convicted him.

Currently housed at America's most secure prison, and still under indictment in Chicago, Chapo claims he is being mistreated because of escape fears.

Ironically, a similar complaint was made about 10 years ago from one of the key witnesses against Chapo, his former top lieutenant, Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla.

READ MORE | El Chapo henchman Felipe Cabrera Sarabia sentenced to 19 years in prison

During Zambada's two years at the Chicago MCC, he wasn't once allowed to the rooftop sports courts to exercise. Prison authorities said there was too much risk the cartel boss would be picked off by a sniper or would stage a helicopter escape.

El Chapo has been on a crusade since arriving at the SuperMax to communicate with his attorneys and allow them to deliver documents to his prison cell as he works to concoct a legal move that would result in his unlikely release. The I-Team did not receive a response back from SuperMax officials.