A drug lord awaiting extradition to the United States donned the uniform of a prison guard and walked out of a maximum-security Colombian prison on Friday on a $5million prison release card .
Juan Castro, the “second in command” of the Colombian multinational Gulf Clan cartel, was filmed escaping from La Picota penitentiary in Bogotá, Colombia, last week without incident.
Dressed in a prison guard’s uniform, he passed through seven doors, including one that was left open by the inspector of the National Penitentiary and Penitentiary Institute Miltón Jímenez.
Jímenez was arrested without incident on Friday for his alleged involvement in the scheme – and is is due in court on Tuesday.
He faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted of helping Castro escape.
Prison warden Juan Gordillo, a deputy warden and 55 guards were also suspended following the brazen daylight incident.
Juan Castro, identified as the second leader of the Gulf Clan, escaped from a prison in Bogotá, Colombia on Friday. Colombian authorities have suspended the prison director, a deputy director and 55 prison guards. Castro was awaiting extradition to the United States
CCTV camera shows Colombian cartel leader Juan Castro walking through a prison door during his escape
La Picota prison director (pictured), Juan Gordillo, a deputy director and 55 guards have been suspended following the escape of Colombian cartel leader Juan Castro
Castro’s escape comes nearly a month after Colombian authorities foiled a similar plot by the Gulf Clan and other Mexican cartels to free Gulf Clan leader Dario Úsuga from prison and avoid his extradition to the United States. United.
Castro was arrested in May 2021 and faces drug trafficking and money laundering charges in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
A preliminary report obtained by Colombian newspaper El Tiempo said Castro was not in his jail cell at 11 p.m. Thursday night.
Castro is said to have been in one of the courtyards of the prison complex – where he is thought to have been sorting out the details of his daring escape – and returned to his cell around 12.30am.
He put them on in the uniform of a prison guard and left the cell accompanied by Jímenez, who led him past five surveillance points.
Colombian cartel Juan Castro may have fled Bogotá, authorities say
Gulf Clan leader Dario Úsuga was arrested by Colombian security forces in October 2021 (above). He was awaiting extradition to the United States
Investigators found that some of the security cameras weren’t working as Castro headed for the exit doors. One of the cameras that worked showed him looking down to hide his face from being detected. Castro, who was carrying a mobile phone, was not told to identify himself at the two registration points he passed through before leaving the prison.
Authorities have not ruled out that Castro may have fled Bogotá or even Colombia on a plane.
Castro had been involved in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and several other paramilitary groups since he was 16 years old. He was arrested at least 12 times and twice escaped from prison.
Juan Castro was arrested on May 7, 2021 in Santander, Colombia. He escaped from a Bogotá prison on Friday
In 2018, he forged a plan that allowed him to serve the remainder of a sentence under house arrest, alleging he was very ill.
As part of a plan to fly under the radar, he faked his death on December 13, 2018, and became one of the top Gulf Clan leaders in the southern region of Nariño.
Narcotics investigators discovered in 2019 that Castro had become the leader of the Cordillera Sur, a Gulf Clan cell.
His drug trafficking gang had alleged ties to the National Liberation Army, dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, as well as the Sinaloa Cartel and the New Generation Jalisco Cartel – the two most strongest from Mexico, which are also bitter. rivals.
Castro was facing charges of homicide, extortion and unlawful possession of firearms in Colombia.
Following his escape, President Iván Duque announced “a comprehensive reform of the Colombian penitentiary and penitentiary system” after the corruption scandals involving the National Penitentiary and Penitentiary Institute.
Earlier this month, the Colombian government sacked the head of prisons and director of the country’s largest prison over unusual exit permits granted to businessman Carlos Mattos, arrested for allegedly paying bribes. de-vin in a lawsuit with South Korean automaker, Hyundai.
Mattos was seen leaving La Picota prison twice in a National Institute of Penitentiaries and Prisons vehicle in videos obtained by TV station Caracol. He was seen walking unattended and entering a building where his office was located.
“The system cannot continue to have these behaviors without exemplary sanctions,” Duque said Friday.
The Gulf Clan is considered the largest drug trafficking group in Colombia.
The organization consists of approximately 1,600 fighters and is involved in cocaine production and trafficking, as well as illegal mining.
The Colombian government accuses the cartel of threatening and killing local activists – known as social leaders – in the country.