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Mexico dispels rumors of third El Chapo escape


 Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's (AFP Photo/Alfredo Estrella)

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s (AFP Photo/Alfredo Estrella)

There was no third time’s a charm for Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Faced with rampant social media rumors of a third escape by the slippery Sinaloa drug cartel honcho, the Mexican government has released a picture of what looks like Guzman in prison in the northern city of Ciudad Juarez.

Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong published the picture on his Twitter account late Friday, with the short phrase: “For the rumors, an image…”

The picture — a screen grab from a computer — apparently shows Guzman wearing a tan-colored long-sleeve shirt while sitting at a black table in what looks like an indoor common area with white walls. There are four doors behind him and prison officials whose faces are not pictured.

The National Security Commission also released a statement saying that “Inmate number 3912 is locked up in his cell in the maximum security wing of the penitentiary.”

Guzman escaped from a high security prison in western Mexico in 2001 by hiding in a laundry cart.

He was captured 13 years later and escaped again in July 2015, this time fleeing through a 1.5 kilometer (one-mile) tunnel that opened into his cell’s shower in the Altiplano prison near Mexico City.

Guzman, 59, was returned to the Altiplano prison after he was recaptured in January.

But he was unexpectedly transferred to the Ciudad Juarez penitentiary in May, with authorities saying it was part of a regular rotation of inmates and also due to a security upgrade at the Altiplano.

Guzman is appealing attempts to extradite him to the United States.

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