[JURIST] A Mexican federal official on Friday announced that seven of those who were being questioned regarding the prison escape of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman [US State Department backgrounder] have been formally arrested. Originally sentenced for conspiracy to distribute and import cocaine, Guzman escaped Mexico’s highest security prison, Altiplano, by tunnel on July 11. Government officials have maintained [Reuters report] that the Guzman’s escape could not have occurred in the absence of help from prison guards or officials, as the tunnel surfaced in a blind spot in the cell behind a shower wall. The federal official did not identify the individuals arrested.
Guzman was one of several drug lords activist asked the ICC to investigate [JURIST report] in 2011. Commentators argue that Guzman’s escape has increased [NYT article] already-strained US-Mexico relations. For example, after Mexico’s interior secretary announced that Mexico and US officials were cooperating to recapture Guzman, he later indicated that no additional US assistance would be necessary. Guzman’s escape also represents a large setback [BBC news] for President Enrique Peña Nieto [official profile], who has repeatedly announced his commitment to put an end to Mexico’s drug cartels.