Five senior members of the Sinaloa Cartel escaped yesterday from the Aguaruto prison in Culiacán, Sinaloa, whose chief of security disappeared shortly after.
Among those who escaped was Juan José Esparragoza Monzón, son of Juan José Esparragoza Moreno, also known as “El Azul,” and one of the cartel’s senior leaders. His son, who was captured in January, has been linked to violence in Tijuana and Mexicali, Baja California, and his arrest was one of the 122 priority objectives of the federal government.
Esparragoza Monzón is also accused of coordinating a drug distribution network and managing the proceeds of drug sales by investing in properties in Baja California, Baja California Sur, Jaliso, Querétaro and Sinaloa.
He and another escapee, Francisco Javier Zacueta Rosales, nicknamed “Pancho Chimal,” were considered dangerous by authorities but efforts to have them transferred to a maximum security were blocked by orders of suspension issued by federal judges.
Zacueta, arrested last month, is the chief of security for Iván Archivaldo Guzmán, son of Joaquín Guzmán, the former cartel boss now awaiting trial in the United States.
The other three are Jesús Peña González, security chief for cartel leader Ismael Zambada; Rafael Guadalupe Félix Núñez, leader of Los Ántrax, the armed wing of the cartel; and Alfredo Limón Sánchez, a close collaborator of Zambada’s.
Sinaloa’s Public Security Secretary said today that the search for the escaped inmates now includes the prison’s missing security chief, José Mario Murillo Rodríguez, as well.
Security Undersecretary Cristóbal Castañeda Camarillo said officials have not discounted the possibility that prison guards assisted in the escape. He said the inmates may have left the prison hidden inside vehicles.