Can Drug Kingpin “El Chapo” Escape an American Supermax Prison?

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is one of the most notorious and powerful drug lords to have ever walked God’s green earth. His rise through the ranks of Mexico’s drug cartels, and subsequent leadership of an international crime syndicate, has etched his name in the history books alongside other kingpins like Pablo Escobar, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo also known as “El Padrino,” and America’s Frank Lucas to name a few. Guzman has also become a pop-culture figure due to Netflix’s hit shows Narcos and El Chapo. Yet, it’s his highly publicized prison escapes and recent trial that bring us together today.

Political and entertainment betting sites have an “Emmy award winning” prop bet on the board that offers bettors a chance to wager on whether or not El Chapo can escape a supermax prison in America. Guzman was sentenced this week to life in prison plus 30 years for good measure after the United States government found him guilty for a litany of crimes. However, unlike his life sentence, this mind-blowing prop bet won’t last as long. So, let’s examine this wager further to see if we can become a kingpin for a day.

Will El Chapo Escape From Prison in 2019 or 2020?

  • No (-100000)
  • Yes (+2500)

Bovada has created quite the buzz with this prop bet. Not only are they striking while the iron is hot, due to Guzman’s recent court case, but they’re also listing odds that would require drug lords to wager on in order to make any money.

On the surface, these odds are astronomical. The “yes” option would net you $2,500 dollars per every $100 wager. However, the “no” option requires that bettors place $100,000 dollars just to win $100. Needless to say, the value heavily leans toward one option.

El Chapo’s Recent Trial and Guilty Verdict

On Wednesday, July 17th, a federal judge sentenced Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to a life sentence plus 30 years for crimes that he was found guilty of by a jury in February. Guzman declared that his trial was “stained” due to jury misconduct, which there is some concern over an “anonymous juror” telling a media outlet that other members of the jury ignored the judge’s orders and read about the case through the media. Whether this “anonymous juror” was telling the truth or not is a debate for another day. Evidently, the judge didn’t believe this and still continued with the legal proceedings. However, this could be a factor in Guzman’s appeal process.

According to court documents, these were Guzman’s final words before being sentenced and shipped off to the ADX Florence supermax prison:

“My case was stained and you denied me a fair trial when the whole world was watching and where the press was present, judging everybody’s actions at every moment. And this then can be denied to any other person in other cases where nobody’s watching. What happened here leaves very clear that the United States is not better than any other corrupt country of those that you do not respect.”

What Is the ADX Florence Supermax Prison?

Located in Fremont County, Colorado, is a supermax prison considered to be the highest level of maximum security in America. Also known as the “Alcatraz of the Rockies,” this is where the worst of the worst are sent to live out their final days.

In addition to El Chapo, this prison is filled with some of the most infamous Al-Qaeda terrorists and double agents ever convicted. Additionally, it’s also filled with domestic terrorists and criminals like “The Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski and the Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

ADX Florence can hold up to 490 of the world’s most dangerous and high-profile criminals. However, public records indicate that it’s never been completely filled. Each inmate spends at least 23 hours per day in their 7×12 foot cell. Showers are on a timer and the furniture within the cell is immovable. Furthermore, interaction with other inmates is very minimal and the only contact with the outside world is a four-inch window looking out at the sky.

The prison itself is known to be inescapable with numerous security measures inside and outside the prison walls including motion sensors, cameras, armed officers, and more.

According to The New York Post, Robert Hood—a former warden of ADX Florence—made the following comments about this prison:

“It’s not a place designed for humanity. It’s one click away from the death penalty. All of a sudden, one day, you’re put in a box and not cared about—that’s the punishment.”

El Chapo’s Previous Prison Escapes

On June 9th, 1993, El Chapo was arrested for the first time in Guatemala. It was a multi-country manhunt that finally captured an elusive Guzman who was then extradited to Mexico. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for charges including drug trafficking and bribery. Despite being in prison, Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel became the most powerful criminal organization throughout the world and El Chapo became a billionaire.

Guzman’s power and resources helped him escape prison in January of 2001 after a carefully crafted plan was executed with the help of roughly 80 people according to officials at the time. Guzman snuck out of the prison in a laundry cart and was whisked away in the trunk of a car. It’s alleged that Guzman paid over $2.5 million to execute this escape plan.

El Chapo’s Second Prison Escape

Guzman’s evasion of authorities lasted 13 years before being captured again on February 22, 2014. During that time, El Chapo became one of the world’s most wanted figures and also led a brutal drug war in Mexico for several years. He became a legend not only in Mexico, but throughout the world for his power, wealth, and evasiveness.

Guzman was quickly imprisoned in Mexico, and the government refused a second extradition request from the United States. Many legal battles took place in 2014 and 2015 between the Mexican government and Guzman’s legal team. In the end, he was convicted of drug trafficking and an assortment of other crimes.

This time, Guzman’s prison stay didn’t last nearly as long as his first imprisonment. In fact, it was only 17 months before El Chapo escaped a Mexican prison for the second time. On July 11th, 2015, Guzman escaped through a tunnel that stretched one mile underground from a construction site to the shower of his prison cell. This tunnel was roughly 33 feet beneath the ground, was 67 inches tall, and 30 inches wide. It had air ducts, lighting, top-notch construction materials and a motorcycle.

After his second escape, Guzman was once again the subject of a massive manhunt that spanned numerous countries and agencies. During his evasion of authorities, Guzman even did an interview with actor Sean Penn for the Rolling Stone magazine. El Chapo boasted of his wealth and status as arguably the most successful drug lord of all-time. The US government certainly felt he was the biggest drug kingpin of all time as they have credited Guzman for transporting over 200 tons of cocaine into America. And that doesn’t include methamphetamines or other illegal substances that he shipped to the United States.

Unfortunately for El Chapo, his time as a free man didn’t last long. On January 8, 2016, Guzman was arrested once again. This time, Mexico agreed to extradite El Chapo to the United States. On January 19th, 2017, Guzman was sent packing to America where he faced a 17-count indictment. Trial began in November 2018, and he was found guilty on February 12, 2019.

Pop Culture Portrayals

As mentioned, El Chapo’s legend grew to heights rarely seen in the history of organized crime and drug trafficking. In fact, many people believe that he’s even more of a pop culture figure than Pablo Escobar. Both Guzman and Escobar’s rise to power in the drug cartels have recently been captured in the Netflix hit series Narcos. To date, this show has run for four seasons and has taken viewers on an epic rollercoaster ride of drugs, violence, and power throughout Colombia and Mexico.

With Guzman, Netflix didn’t stop at just one show. The streaming platform giant put out another series called El Chapo that specifically chronicles the rise of Guzman in the world of drug trafficking. Viewers who have watched both of Netflix’s shows can attest to the mythical proportions that El Chapo’s legend has grown to.

Will El Chapo Escape Prison Again?

For Guzman and his family, El Chapo’s magical prison escapes appear to have come to an end. He’s no longer in a Mexican prison where inmates, prison staff, and local authorities can help him escape. Furthermore, he’s far removed from fellow cartel members and his unlimited resources. If anyone ever had the wealth and resources to do attempt an escape from ADX Florence it certainly is El Chapo. Nevertheless, orchestrating an escape from this supermax prison is something only accomplished in Hollywood films.

Despite Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador calling El Chapo’s jail conditions inhumane, the ADX Florence prison is Guzman’s last stop on this journey. Unless his attorneys pull off one of the greatest legal miracles in the history of mankind, we will never see El Chapo’s face in public again. Well, that’s not entirely true because a clothing line called “El Chapo 701” is now invading the fashion world. This fashion line was created by Guzman’s daughter and it has his face on many articles of clothing.

For this prop bet, take the “No” option. Not only will Guzman not escape prison in by the end of 2020, he will never escape prison again.

El Chapo Prop Bet: No, he will not escape prison in 2019 or 2020 (-100000)
Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site.

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