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Mexico drug boss ‘Chapo’ fled via tunnel behind mirror

Undated Rolling Stone handout shows actor Sean Penn shaking hands with Mexican drug lord Joaquin 'Chapo' Guzman in Mexico

By Alexandra Alper and Ana Isabel Martinez

The world’s most wanted drug boss, Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, initially gave Mexican security forces the slip by opening a secret doorway hidden behind a mirror, and descending into a sophisticated tunnel leading to the city’s drains.

He spent hours below ground as his henchmen sought to lure pursuing Marines up toward the roof of the house he had been holed up in. He eventually emerged from a manhole near a gas station a mile (1.5 km) across town as rains started to fill the drains and stole a car at gunpoint.

Video footage broadcast by Televisa on Monday showed Marines firing shots inside the property during the dawn raid in Los Mochis in Guzman‘s native state of Sinaloa, and images of the interior of the ground floor dressing room where the tunnel entrance was hidden.

The infamous boss of the Sinaloa drug cartel, Guzman was arrested on Friday after a months-long manhunt following his escape from a maximum security prison in July.

Marines found two women hiding in the bathroom of the house, along with DVDs of La Reina Del Sur, a fictional series about a female drug boss starring Mexican actress Kate del Castillo.

Del Castillo had accompanied Hollywood star Sean Penn to a secret meeting with Guzman at an undisclosed location in Mexico late last year, which the government says unwittingly helped lead to his capture.

“My holidays are over,” Guzman said when he was finally caught, Televisa reported.

Mexico is formally starting extradition proceedings against Guzman, the government said late on Sunday, in the strongest sign yet it intends to send him to the United States.

On Sunday, Interpol served two extradition warrants, the Mexican attorney general’s office said, kick-starting the latest attempt to have Guzman face US justice for the hundreds of tonnes of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin he has exported across the border.

Mexico regularly extradites leading traffickers but the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto resisted handing over Guzman after his arrest in February 2014 as a point of national pride.

A top official from the Attorney General’s office said on Monday it would take ‘at least a year’ for the process to move forward.

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