With new escape, Guzman's legend grows | Singapore Informer

© Provided by AFP Picture released by the Attorney General of Mexico (PGR) shows the mugshot of Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, published on the PGR website on February 22, 2014

Folk bands sang his praises. When he was arrested, supporters protested in his home state. Now that Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has escaped again, singers may add a new verse.

Guzman, 58, nurtured a Robin Hood image in his northwestern state of Sinaloa while running the most powerful, and one of the most ruthless, cartels in Mexico.

His capture in February 2014 had been a huge victory for President Enrique Pena Nieto in his battle against organized crime after years of violence that have left tens of thousands of people dead.

But the tables turned again on Saturday night, when Guzman escaped from the Altiplano maximum-security prison in central Mexico through a secret tunnel under his cell’s shower.

The 50-by-50 centimeter (20-by-20 inch) hole was wide enough for his small frame — his nickname means “Shorty.”

After crawling through, he fled down a 1.5-kilometer (one-mile) long tunnel that opened into a construction site.

The Sinaloa cartel’s legend grew after he escaped a first time in 2001 from another prison, in western Jalisco state, by hiding in a laundry cart.

He spent 13 years on the lam before his capture last year, long enough to build a drug trafficking empire that stretched around the globe.

Musicians wrote folk ballads known as “narcocorridos,” tributes to drug capos.

The mustachioed drug lord married an 18-year-old beauty queen, Emma Coronel, in 2007 and is believed to have 10…

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