One of the top lieutenants of the Sinaloa Cartel and four other key bosses chose to escape from a Mexican prison rather than face the U.S. justice system. Sinaloa Cartel members previously warned their key leader would not set foot in the United States.
The brazen escape took place on Thursday at the Aguaruto State Prison in Culiacan, Sinaloa, when authorities received a 911 call alerting them about an escape by Juan Jose “El Azulito” Esparragoza and some other key members of the Sinaloa Cartel. The fugitive cartel members are tied to the group led by Sinaloa top boss Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and the sons of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, said Cristobal Castañeda Camarillo, the Sub-secretary for Public Safety in Sinaloa. Mexican authorities would not go into details about the escape since the case remains under investigation and prison officials and guards are under investigation.
“Since they were inmates held on federal crimes, on repeated occasions state authorities had requested that they be taken to maximum security federal facilities; we are requesting for Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office to take over the case, Castañeda Camarillo said during a news conference.
Esparragoza Monzon is the son of the late Juan Jose “El Azul” Esparragoza, who along with “El Chapo” Guzman and “El Mayo” Zambada founded what became known as The Sinaloa Cartel. As Breitbart Texas previously reported, El Chapo escaped twice from Mexican maximum security prisons before being extradited to the United States.
The 45-year-old “El Azulito” also known as “El Negro,” who escaped from the state prison in Culiacan was arrested on January 19 in Culiacan and was fighting a request for extradition by the U.S. Department of Justice to face drug conspiracy charges in the United States.
Authorities also confirmed the escape of Alfonzo Limon Sanchez, a key financial operator, and the top cocaine distributor the El Mayo Zambada in California. Officials charged the man with multiple drug conspiracy and drug trafficking offenses in the U.S. Southern District of California.
Authorities identified another escaped inmate as Jesus “El Compa Peña” or “El 20” Peña Gonzalez, who headed the security detail for El Mayo Zambada. The man has been described by law enforcement officials in Mexico as one of the founders of the “Los Antrax,” one of the enforcement cells of the Sinaloa Cartel. Another founding member of the Los Antrax identified as Rafael Guadalupe “Changuito Antrax” Felix Núñez is listed as a fugitive.
Officials identified the fifth fugitive as Francisco Javier “Pancho Chimal” Zazueta Rosales. He serves as the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel enforcement wing called “Los Chimales.” Before his arrest on February 18, Zazueta Rosales worked as a personal bodyguard for Ivan Archivaldo Guzman, one of the sons of Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
Currently, El Chapo Guzman, the former supreme leader of the Sinaloa Cartel remains in U.S. federal custody as he awaits trial on multiple drug trafficking and drug conspiracy charges.
Tony Aranda is a contributing writer for Breitbart Texas.
Breitbart Texas’ Ildefonso Ortiz contributed to this report. Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.