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plot twist

Mexican drug lord still on the run as his son threatens to kill Donald Trump

It’s a complicated story.

THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT has offered a $3.8 million (€3.4 million) reward for the capture of fugitive drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman and sacked top prison officials amid suspicions that guards helped him escape.

Guzman vanished from his cell late on Saturday even though he was wearing a monitoring bracelet and surveillance cameras were trained on the room 24 hours a day, Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said.

Mexico US Drug Lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

He noted that Guzman “must have counted on the complicity of prison personnel… which if confirmed would constitute an act of treason.”

Guzman had been behind bars for just 17 months when he escaped for the second time since 2001, dealing a humiliating setback to President Enrique Pena Nieto and overshadowing a state visit to France.

This time, the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel managed to flee a maximum-security prison some 90 kilometers (55 miles) west of Mexico city through a 1.5-kilometer tunnel found under his cell’s shower.

In another twist, Guzman’s son has reportedly threatened to kill tycoon and US presidential candidate Donald Trump.

TMZ reports that Trump has contacted the FBI over a tweet sent by Guzman’s son that states: “Keep f***ing around and I’m gonna make you swallow your bitch words you f***ing whitey milks***tter (a homophobic slur).”

He was responding to comments in which Trump said Guzman represented “everything that’s wrong with Mexico.”

The escape

While cameras were constantly trained on the cell, Osorio Chong said there were “two blind spots” to respect the inmate’s privacy “and human rights,” and he managed to remove the bracelet, which only worked inside the prison.

He said he decided to fire the Altiplano prison’s director as well as the head of the nation’s penitentiary system and general coordinator “to facilitate” the investigation.

Attorney General Arely Gomez said 34 prison officials and 17 inmates were interrogated by prosecutors. No charges have been announced so far.

A federal official said prison employees of various rank, including the warden, spent the night at the anti-organized crime unit of the attorney general’s office.

Mexico Drug Lord Escapes Federal police guard a drainage pipe outside of the Altiplano maximum security prison. AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Two of Guzman’s lawyers were questioned and anyone who visited him during his incarceration is being sought.

The owner of the property where Guzman’s tunnel ended also faced questioning.

The government has launched a massive manhunt for Guzman, who amassed a huge wealth as the head of the country’s most powerful drug gang.

Troops and police patrolled highways, borders and airports, while the governments of the United States and Central American neighbors were cooperating.

The US State Department said Guzman’s “swift recapture by Mexican authorities is a priority for both the Mexican and the US governments.”

Osorio Chong urged Mexicans to help authorities find Guzman. The reward offered by the government, 60 million pesos, is double what it usually gives for top drug lords.

There will be no rest for this criminal. There will be no break in efforts to rearrest him.

The government released a recent photo of Guzman, with his head and famous black mustache shaved off.

Osorio Chong said Mexicans should be safe calling an anonymous tips hotline.

Mike Vigil, a retired US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) international operations chief, warned that if Guzman is not captured in the next day or so, he will vanish for good.

“If he is able to make his way to Sinaloa, his native state, and gets into that mountainous range, it’s going to be very difficult to capture him because he enjoys the protection of local villagers,” Vigil said in an interview.

Not the first time

Guzman was last seen right before 9pm on Saturday, when he went into his private shower. After he failed to come out, guards found a hole 10 meters (33 feet) deep with a ladder inside.

Mexico Drug Lord Escapes A federal policeman inspects a drainage pipe outside the Altiplano maximum security prison. AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

The gap led to a sophisticated tunnel with a ventilation and light system that ended inside a gray brick building on a hill surrounded by pastures in central Mexico State.

A huge water pipeline project is under construction around the prison, which could explain why the tunnel’s construction went unnoticed.

Guzman’s first escape was in 2001, when he slipped past authorities by hiding in a laundry cart in western Jalisco state. He had been captured in Guatemala in 1993.

With reporting by Órla Ryan

Read: Mexico thought this infamous drug lord wouldn’t escape from prison again

Read: Trump’s latest comments about illegal immigrants made a fight break out

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