'Most wanted criminal in Baja' escapes custody

Sinaloa cartel leader fled Mexico City hospital

Mexico's Attorney General announced that the alleged lieutenant of the Sinaloa cartel suspected in dozens of murders in Baja California has escaped from a Mexico City hospital where he was being held.

The announcement said that Héctor Eduardo Guajardo Hernández, 33, known as "el Güicho," escaped through a hospital window Wednesday apparently with the assistance of two federal agents guarding him.

Baja California police had captured Guajardo in Mexicali on May 9 in shootout in which he was wounded. He was transferred to a hospital in Mexico City, where he was being held while authorities investigated his alleged participation in the murders of dozens of people, including 10 police officers.

A preliminary investigation indicated that two agents from Mexico's Federal Investigative Agency, who have disappeared, helped the prisoner escape, the announcement said. Two other federal agents in the room next to Guajardo's are under investigation.

Guajardo allegedly ran the financial operations of the Sinaloa cartel in Baja California and two other states.

At the time of his arrest, Baja California's prosecutor for organized crime said that Guajardo was believed to have participated in the massacre last fall of 13 people at a drug rehabilitation center in Tijuana.

The deputy prosecutor, Fermín Gómez, said that in all the state was investigating Guajardo in 21 cases in Tijuana and 23 in Rosarito Beach, calling him the state's "most wanted criminal." The crimes ranged from homicide to participating in organized crime.

He is suspected in the murder of 10 law enforcement agents from September 2009 to March of this year.

In Mexico City, Attorney General Marisela Morales ordered an investigation of the escape as well as "the continuation of not only the battle against organized crime but the weeding out of corrupt personnel with the goal of having honest and reliable public servants."

The announcement said 41 percent of the federal investigative police agents had undergone a thorough review since April in the campaign against corruption.



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