México cranks up effort to find fugitive

Mexican troops were deployed Wednesday in the municipality of Badiraguato, including roads leading to La Tuna, the birthplace of drug lord Joaquin  Guzmán as part of an operation to re-capture him.

Soldiers set up checkpoints in Badiraguato, stopping vehicles and reviewing drivers’ licenses and registration.

Mexican police are also engaged in a larger manhunt in the country, stepping up border security and shutting down an international airport, in addition to checkpoints.

Four days after Guzman’s escape from the Altiplano maximum security prison, about 90 kilometers west of Mexico City, some residents in his hometown were supportive of his escape.

One resident, Karla Janeth, said “we do not mind that he escaped because he does not bother us. He is a hard-working man, and it is okay with us that he escaped.”

Another resident who only gave her name as Maria, said “to be honest, we did not know that he escaped until now that I am hearing it.”

But she said that “people like him,” and that “we love and respect him.”

Guzmán managed to escape through a 1.5-kilometer tunnel connecting the shower of his cell to a half-built home in a rural area.

Officials said the tunnel would have required noisy digging equipment and are investigating whether prison employees helped in the escape

Newly-released security camera video showed the moment when Guzmán escaped from the prison for the second time in 14 years. He was captured last year.

The video showed Guzmán crouching behind the partition wall in his cell before he disappeared.

Prison officials said the partition walls were designed to give prisoners privacy while taking a shower.

Guzman’s escape is a major embarrassment for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. His crowning achievement in Mexico’s war on drug cartels and their elusive kingpins was the capture of Guzmán, who had been on the run for 13 years after his earlier escape.

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