Updated 12:38 PM EST, Tue, Jan 26, 2021

Drug Kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzmán Paid More Than 30 People to Assist in His Escape?

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Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán spent a huge amount of money in his escape from a maximum security prison in July, according to Mexico's Attorney General's Office.

Arely Gómez González, Mexico's attorney general, told the Milenio newspaper that they don't know yet how much the Sinaloa Cartel head spent for his escape, but they know that it was a large sum, UPI reported. She said that an associate agency was determining how many people were involved in Guzmán's prison break, both from inside and outside the Altiplano Federal Prison.

Gómez González noted that they "have not exhausted this investigation and we continue to work on other matters relating to the same subject," UPI added.

Gómez González also said that the Mexican government is preparing its criminal case against those accused of helping Guzmán's jailbreak, including prison officials, UPI added. Over 30 people have been arrested pertaining to the case.

In November, USA Today reported that Mexican authorities have confiscated properties belonging to the Sinaloa Cartel, such as planes, vehicles, and houses. However, these seized properties are believed as only a small part of Guzmán's entire fortune.

Earlier this month, a report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, revealed that Guzmán planned to expand his drug operations to the European market, which currently approximates to be worth around $33 billion a year, teleSUR wrote. FBI agents said that they have put undercover officers in Guzmán's business and they found that the Sinaloa Cartel leader is expanding his empire to new regions, including Europe.

The FBI said that the violent Mexican cartels of Los Zetas and Gulf are already controlling huge parts of the European market, and that Guzmán is aiming to take over the drug business in the continent, teleSUR added.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is also making aggressive efforts against Guzmán's multibillion dollar drug enterprise. In a statement released in November, the department "designated" two close associates of Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar, son of Guzmán, to be sanctioned under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act).

The statement identified the two individuals as Guadalupe Fernández Valencia and Jorge Mario Valenzuela Verdugo. The former moves both drugs and money for the Sinaloa Cartel, while the latter manages drug distribution activities in Sinaloa and Jalisco for the group.

Guzmán's sons are believed to be heavily involved in the cartel's operations and have been targeted by U.S. law enforcement since 2012, according to Forbes.

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