On March 16, five top drug lords escaped from Aguaruto State Prison in Culiacan, Sinaloa. The story behind it spoke volumes about Mexico’s relationship with the United States.
The five members of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel should have been in federal prison, as requested by Mexican drug enforcement authorities. Instead, they were held where security was easily compromised and corruption lurked around every corner.
The kicker? One of the five, Juan Jose “El Azulito” Esparragoza Monzon, was fighting extradition to the United States on drug conspiracy charges, according to Breitbart. The Sinaloa Cartel had warned that Esparragoza would never set foot in the U.S. And history has shown that what the cartel wants, it usually gets.
Esparragoza, also known as “El Negro,” is the son of Sinaloa cartel co-founder Juan Jose “El Azul” Esparragoza Moreno. The elder drug lord’s partner? Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who escaped from Mexican maximum security prisons twice before finally being extradited to the United States.
A Mexican official confirmed that the escapees had avoided transfer to maximum security federal prisons, according to ABC News. It is not difficult to see the hand of corruption keeping all five together on their home turf of Sinaloa, among the most corrupt states in an infamously corrupt country.
The court system blocked repeated attempts to transfer the five to the greater security of federal prisons, said Cristobal Castaneda, assistant secretary of public safety in northern Sinaloa state.
Like his father, Esparragoza Monzon is known for keeping a low profile and could be anywhere. His father was rumored to have died of a heart attack in 2014 but the report has never been confirmed, according to the U.K. Daily Mail.
There is no question that a loose border benefits Mexico. Otherwise they’d have enforced it long ago. Drugs and people flow north; money flows south. Mexico can ill afford to lose the approximately $27 billion in remittances and heaven-knows-how-much-else in drug money that crossed the border in 2016.
Money from the U.S. — just the remittances — represent about 8 percent of Mexico’s annual budget. Add to that the profits from drugs and you don’t have to connect many dots to see why these criminals were allowed to escape. As the saying goes, follow the money.
Memo to President Trump: We need that wall NOW.
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