El Chapo Escapes Prison Hoax: Joaquin Guzman Didn’t Leave Islas Marias Via Sinaloa Attack

February 25, 2014 Updated: February 25, 2014

A viral article from a “satire” website claims that Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman escaped prison, but there’s no shred of truth to it. On social media sites Tuesday, many people were sharing it, believing that it was real

The article was published on Huzlers, which posts fake news.

Huzlers has a disclaimer that says, “Huzlers.com is a combination of real shocking news and satire news to keep its visitors in a state of disbelief.”

The fake article reads: “The Escape is one of the most intense and bloodiest escapes in history with over 64 cartel members and prison guards dead. An estimated 130 Sinaloa cartel members attacked the Prison armed with firearms, mostly AK-47′s, and helped El Chapo escape with brute force in less than an hour. The cartel members killed an estimated 45 prison guards, while only 19 cartel members were killed in the prison battle. El Chapo was taken away in a helicopter reportedly flying southeast towards South America.”

No credible mainstream or local media outlets covered the story. If Guzman were to have escaped after cartel members attacked a prison, it would be all over the news this week.

But many people were commenting on the fake report as if it were real.

“Told yall El Chapo was gunna escape . 64 escapes in the last 25 years . Cartel ain’t a joke,” one person wrote. 

Guzman, however, escaped prison more than 10 years ago via a laundry cart. He was not seen in public since he was arrested over the weekend by Mexican Marines.

AP update for Guzman’s capture:

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The powerful Sinaloa cartel is expected to go right on selling billions of dollars of illegal drugs despite the takedown of its legendary leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who leaves in place a sophisticated distribution network and business plan.

Guzman’s capture Saturday was undoubtedly a major blow for a criminal ring likened to a Fortune 500 company — the loss of its chief executive coming on the heels of more than a dozen arrests of key lieutenants and lower-level operators in recent months. Yet the cartel remains the major supplier of cocaine to the U.S., and the arrest did not touch the cartel’s immense political power, nurtured through the bribery of officials, or its thriving money laundering operations.

“As long as these other structures remain in place, all things being equal, Sinaloa will be able to continue to operate if not as normal, at least as the most powerful criminal organization in Mexico,” said David Shirk, director of the University of San Diego’s Justice in Mexico Project.

The longer-term fate of the cartel is more difficult to predict, however, as authorities pursue other top leaders and weaker rivals dream of moving in.

Mexico’s Secretary of the Interior Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said, so far, there’s only speculation about how the cartel will replace Guzman, and whether other criminal groups will try to take over.

“We have to wait for real information, and when we have it, we will act,” Osorio Chong said in an interview with The Associated Press. “That will be part of our work, to see how they reorganize, how they accommodate … so we can keep them from resurging and replanting.”