Mexico shuts jail made infamous by El Chapo’s escape

Mexico says it is closing the Puente Grande maximum security prison where notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman made his first escape in a laundry cart.

An armored vehicle escorted by a military convoy began transferring prisoners from the jail in the western state of Jalisco to a nearby air base on Tuesday.

The inmates then boarded a Hercules plane that was expected to fly them to other prisons around the country.

The government said Monday that the closure of the jail, which was inaugurated 27 years ago, was aimed at “modernizing” the Mexican penal system.

Guzman’s jail break in 2001 with the help of bribed accomplices was part of a series of dramatic arrests and escapes by the head of the powerful Sinaloa drugs cartel.

He was captured for the first time in 1993 in neighboring Guatemala and spent eight years in Puente Grande until he fled.

He was a fugitive for 13 years but was arrested again in 2014 and transferred to the high-security Altiplano prison in central Mexico.

Seventeen months later, the drug kingpin escaped again through a hole under his cell’s shower, riding a modified motorcycle mounted on rails along a tunnel dug out by his henchmen.

Guzman was captured for a third time in 2016 and extradited to the United States, where he is serving a life sentence. (AFP)