Ferguson Chooses Black Interim Police Chief

Andre Anderson ferguson missouri
Jeff Roberson—AP Andre Anderson leaves at the end of a news conference announcing him as the interim chief of the Ferguson Police Department on July 22, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo.

Andre Anderson says his first priority is "simply to build trust" in the city where Michael Brown was killed last summer

The city of Ferguson, Mo., where the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown sparked days of unrest last summer, named a black interim police chief on Wednesday.

Andre Anderson, 50, told reporters that his first priority is “simply to build trust, to develop community policing in this area,” USA Today reports. Anderson previously was a police commander in Glendale, Ariz., where Ferguson interim city manager Ed Beasley once worked, and he grew up in an area of South Philadelphia he describes as similar to Ferguson.

The previous police chief, Tom Jackson, resigned after a report from the Department of Justice found that Ferguson police routinely engaged in racially discriminatory policing practices.

Anderson said he would use the Justice Department’s recommendations to help “cultivate relationships that we know and hope will reshape our direction in the city of Ferguson.” He also plans to attract and hire more black police officers and institute more de-escalation and “bias awareness” training.

“The city of Ferguson and our Police Department have endured a tremendous amount of distrust during the past nine months,” Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said in a statement. “We understand that it will take time to once again gain the trust of everyone. We believe that Cmdr. Anderson can make recommendations to the Police Department that will be innovative and will have long-standing improvements for our citizens and to the entire community.”

TIME justice

Federal Court Rules No Backsies on Butt Dials

More reasons to fear butt dialing

An Ohio butt dialer who sued a colleague for listening to his confidential discussion had no right to privacy, a federal appeals court upheld on Tuesday.

According to court documents, in 2013, James Huff, a board member of a Cincinnati airport, was discussing replacing the airport’s CEO when he pocket dialed the second-worst person possible: not the CEO, but her assistant. The assistant, Carol Spaw, took notes and audio recordings, and shared a summary with the airport’s board members, the court said.

“[Huff] is no different from the person who exposes in-home activities by leaving drapes open or a webcam on and therefore has not exhibited an expectation of privacy,” the ruling said, affirming the ruling made by a district court.

Privacy in butt dialing incidents previously made headlines in February, when a man who pocket dialed 911 was jailed for talking about drug dealing.

TIME Baseball

Justice Department Quietly Drops Barry Bonds Prosecution

Barry Bonds at the Los Angeles premiere of "Million Dollar Arm" in Hollywood on May 6, 2014.
Gregg DeGuire—WireImage/Getty Images Barry Bonds at the Los Angeles premiere of "Million Dollar Arm" in Hollywood on May 6, 2014.

Department of Justice pursued investigation and prosecution of Bonds for a decade

(SAN FRANCISCO)—The U.S. Department of Justice formally dropped its criminal prosecution of Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball’s career homerun leader.

The decade-long investigation and prosecution of Bonds for obstruction of justice ended quietly Tuesday morning when the DOJ said it would not challenge the reversal of his felony conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A jury convicted Bonds in 2011 of obstruction of justice for giving a meandering answer to a federal grand jury when asked about injections. A federal appeals court overturned that conviction in April.

The DOJ could have asked the high court to take the case. But the DOJ has filed a one-paragraph notice with the appeals court saying it wouldn’t challenge the lower court ruling.

TIME justice

How a Teenager Sentenced to Life in Prison Became the Involuntary Face of Reform

When 14-year-old Barney Lee was sentenced to life in prison, he became a human experiment for new theories of penal reform

President Obama, speaking last week at an NAACP convention on the eve of his historic tour of Oklahoma’s El Reno Correctional Institution, outlined the major components of his vision for the future of criminal justice reform. When it came to the issue of juvenile offenders, he called for a shift in perspective: “We’ve got to make sure our juvenile justice system remembers that kids are different. Don’t just tag them as future criminals. Reach out to them as future citizens.”

These comments came after a year of intense national debate about issues surrounding what some have described as the “cradle-to-prison pipeline,” including the disproportionate policing of black and Latino minors in urban communities and extensive solitary confinement for juvenile offenders on Riker’s Island. Calls for reform often rely on images of teens the system is said to have failed. But more than 70 years ago, they relied on just the opposite, when one incarcerated youth—confined to one of the country’s most notorious state prisons—became the face of reform.

“The kid is quiet,” the photographer J.R. Eyerman jotted down in his notes as he observed 14-year-old Barney Lee on a summer afternoon in July 1941. “He is very interested in the planes overhead all day from nearby Hamilton Field,” he continued, referring to the new defense compound in Novato, Calif., 25 miles north of where they were stationed. Eyerman had been commissioned to document a day in the teen’s life, and found him—along with marveling at hovering aircraft—filling his time reading books with his tutor, playing with a model ship and throwing a ball around with friends.

Readers who came across Eyerman’s photographs when they were published the following summer in TIME would have found various aspects of Lee’s appearance familiar, his mischievous grin and obediently tucked-in shirt reminiscent of their own sons or nephews. But Barney Lee was no ordinary adolescent. Several months prior to Eyerman’s shoot, a California court found him guilty of murdering his uncle, a farmer from Salinas in California’s Central Valley. According to responding officers, Lee fatally shot his uncle after being scolded for neglecting his farm chores. The judge who presided over Lee’s case sentenced him to five years to life in prison, earning him the title of the youngest “lifer” in California history. When Eyerman watched him playing baseball and eating dinner in a cafeteria, he did so from inside the walls of San Quentin, which Lee now called home.

Lee might have been the youngest teenager to receive a life sentence, but he was not the first. Two teenagers, one 15 years old and the other 16, had once called San Quentin their lifelong home. The fact that Lee was living alongside some of California’s most violent criminals was not unprecedented, either. In 1941, California counted itself among a handful of states that made no distinction between those convicted of murder, no matter their age. Teenagers shared cells with inmates of all ages, an arrangement that reflected a larger penal philosophy known as the “custodial model,” which emphasized discipline, direct surveillance and physical punishment. According to this model, the inmate’s identity—young or old, black or white, female or male—no longer mattered, for it was eclipsed by a crime committed against a society eager for retribution.

But things were changing. After a series of crises in the early decades of the 20th century, including highly publicized prison escapes, instances of administrative corruption and social unrest stemming from convict labor abuse, criminologists, politicians, and civic reformers came together to craft and implement a new “progressive” program. As part of the new “reformative model,” inmates were encouraged to spend more time outside their cells taking classes, exercising and bonding in group settings and receiving vocational training to increase their likelihood of post-prison employment. Rehabilitating the fallen individual, rather than punishing the unredeemable collective, became the goal of the new penal order.

When San Quentin received Barney Lee as an inmate in 1941, the administration no doubt saw him as an ideal vehicle through which to showcase the prison’s transformation under the watch of a new chief warden, Clinton Duffy. Duffy had arrived with a robust reformative agenda, which included eliminating physical punishment, introducing night school, allowing prisoners to publish a newspaper and run their own radio station and establishing an on-site Alcoholics Anonymous chapter. The photographs of a smiling, well-dressed Lee shaving in front of a bathroom mirror, enjoying the fresh air on walks and typing away at his personal desk—all under the watch of specialists—testified to the dramatic changes that were ushered in during Duffy’s tenure.

Yet Eyerman seemed to sense that he was not getting an authentic tour of the prison compound, noting in particular how the youngster’s custodians anxiously curated the photo shoot. “[The] warden refused us permission to photograph Barney with ‘hardened criminal types,’” he remarked, adding that “[The warden] is strictly against using gag photographs of any description.’” Like the inmates themselves, the photographer’s movements on the premises were restricted, reminding the photographer of the limits of even this most humane prison regime. Two portraits of Lee—one of him leaning his back against a barred gate, another of him embarking on what looks like a dispassionate escape over the same gate—can be read as the photographer’s attempt to capture the fundamental lack of freedom at the core of the American prison experience.

Eyerman was not the only one to notice San Quentin’s shortcomings. Public citizens and state officials alike had been clamoring for more lenient treatment of young offenders for some time, and Lee’s case proved to be the last straw. In 1943, the newly formed California Youth Authority assumed the role of Barney Lee’s parent as part of a new statewide initiative based on the concept of parens patriae, or “the state is the parent.” Lee was transferred to the all-boy Whittier State Reformatory, where he became the first ward in an environment that promised to apply new research on juvenile delinquency prevention and treatment.

But it was only a matter of time until Lee would outgrow his new home. In July 1943, he escaped from Whittier and spent two years working undetected as a dairyman, pantryman and bellboy throughout the American southwest, before taking his nearly $300 of savings on a gambling trip to Las Vegas. His lucky streak ended there. In September 1945, police officers became alarmed when they spotted a young boy spending an inordinate amount of money at a local store. Lee was promptly arrested under suspicion of burglary. He was 18 years old.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

TIME Texas

Civil Rights Activist’s Death in Texas Jail Sparks Questions

Sandra Bland was found dead in her cell 3 days after her arrest

Family and friends of a civil rights activist found dead in a Texas jail have launched a campaign questioning the authorities’ ruling of a suicide.

Sandra Bland was arrested after allegedly becoming combative during a routine traffic stop on Friday. She was found dead in her cell on Monday morning.

The Waller County Sheriff’s Office said the 28-year-old died “from what appears to be self-inflicted asphyxiation,” calling it a “tragic incident.”

However, those who knew Bland don’t believe she would have taken her own life. She had recently moved to the area, about 50 miles west of Houston, and was due to…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME justice

What Inmates Think of Obama’s Prison Visit

Inmates and former inmates speak out

For six of the 15 years he spent behind bars, Jason Hernandez called Federal Corrections Institution El Reno home. And before President Obama granted him and over a dozen others clemency in 2013, he was destined to die there.

But when he heard President Obama would be traveling to the El Reno facility on Thursday, he yearned to be back behind those walls again, if only for a day.

“I immediately thought there was no place I’d rather be than in El Reno when the president is there,” Hernandez tells TIME. “President Obama granted one of my dreams. One of the others is to meet him.”

In 1998, when he was just 21 years old, Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for selling methamphetamines and crack cocaine. After serving nine years in the Beaumont maximum-security facility in Texas, Hernandez was transferred to the medium security facility at El Reno to carry out the remainder of his life sentence.

Yet, that sentence was cut short thanks to Obama, who included the now 38-year-old in his first splashy round of mass sentence reductions for low-level, non-violent drug offenders who likely would have been released had they been sentenced under current law. Hernandez doesn’t at all deny the fact that he was guilty of a crime—“I thought I was bettering people by giving them drugs,” he says—but he felt his sentence was excessive and the President agreed.

Now, Hernandez is living in a halfway house in McKinney, Texas, splitting his time between work as a welder and as a kitchen worker and mentor at restaurant aimed at helping kids who have gotten caught up in the juvenile justice system. Hernandez says he wants to use his newfound freedom to help keep young men of color from heading down his same path—something he notes he likely wouldn’t have even known he’d have a passion for had it not been for programs he participated in at El Reno.

Plus, he says, “I made that promise to the president.”

Over the past several days, Obama has made criminal justice reform his focus—from the 46 commutations he issued on Monday to the sweeping reform platform he laid out on Tuesday—and it all comes to a head on Thursday when he becomes the first sitting U.S. president to visit a federal correctional facility. During his visit to El Reno, a medium security facility in Oklahoma, Obama will meet with law enforcement agents and inmates and be interviewed for an upcoming VICE documentary about the American criminal justice system.

The site wasn’t at all chosen at random. The White House, the Department of Justice, and the Bureau of Prisons worked together to pick El Reno as the first federal prison to host a sitting president for a visit for a number of reasons, according to a White House official. For starters, about half of its 1,301 inmate population is drug offenders, which is proportional to the entire federal prison population. The racial and ethnic make-up is also representative of the federal prison population and inmates there are a variety of ages and carry myriad lengths of sentence. What’s more, it offers both an evidence-based residential drug abuse treatment program and a critical reentry program known as Federal Prison Industries that helps inmates prepare for life on the outside. Inside, according to an inmate handbook, inmates have access to educational and vocational training programs from GED and associate’s degree courses to business management and welding training.

“The President believes that, at its heart, America is a nation of second chances, and the reentry programs and drug abuse programs housed at El Reno are vital to ensuring that inmates have a second chance to give back to the country they love,” said a White House official.

Those second chances, however, have been all but lost on thousands of low-level, non-violent drug offenders sentenced to lengthy sentences as a result of harsh, decades-old drug laws. In many cases, first-time offenders caught peddling or transporting drugs have been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Since 1980, the U.S. prison population has more than quadrupled, due in large part to the massive numbers of drug offenders who’ve ended up behind bars for lengthy amounts of time. And although Congress passed a law in 2010 that reduced the punitive disparities between crack and powder cocaine, the law wasn’t retroactive, leaving many offenders who would be out under current law to languish behind bars. “That’s the real reason our prison population is so high,” Obama said Tuesday. “In far too many cases, the punishment simply does not fit the crime. A disproportionate number of inmates, too, are black and Latino men.

In a photo taken on the inside that Hernandez shared with TIME, nine black and brown men donning tan jumpsuits stare solemnly at the camera. All of them, Hernandez says, were sentenced to life behind bars for selling crack cocaine. Among them is Kenneth Evans, a former low-level drug dealer who is a few months shy of his 50th birthday. He’s been behind bars for 23 years. Evans lived next door to Hernandez when he was still locked up. When Hernandez found out he had been granted clemency, he cried to Evans—saying he felt guilty for leaving him behind.

In a message to TIME sent via the prison email system, Evans said he simply wants the president to know that “none of us are claiming innocence. None of us are neglecting or ignoring the harm that we caused our communities. But ALL of us are simply asking for fairness, true justice, and a second chance.”

Evans has applied for clemency through the Clemency Project, an Obama administration effort to identify more non-violent, low-level offenders for parole. According to the New York Times, some 30,000 federal inmates have applied for sentence relief through the initiative. But the process for clemency is slow, as noted in the number of commutation orders Obama has so far granted.

Yet, among inmates, hope is not lost. Douglas Ray Dunkins is not in the photo, but he’s also serving a life sentence in El Reno. His conviction for manufacturing and distributing crack as a young man was his first felony, according to an American Civil Liberties Union report in which he’s featured. He’s been at the Oklahoma facility since February 9, 1993.

When Jason was released, he told TIME via prison email, it was a bittersweet moment, “but it did give me hope that if [his] sentence could be commuted mine could as well.”

Both Congress and the White House have taken steps to try to curb the impact old drug laws have had on the prison population. A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House recently launched a criminal justice reform caucus. Senators from both sides of the aisle convened on Tuesday to make the case for passing criminal justice reform this legislative session. Obama on Tuesday lauded the momentum around enacting meaningful reforms that reduce both the prison population and the crime rate, while noting that more work needed to be done. He’s likely to repeat the charge during his visit on Thursday.

Though Hernandez won’t be traveling to meet the President at El Reno, he hopes to someday meet him. But what he wants most is an opportunity is for other deserving inmates to experience life on the outside.

“There are individuals there that I believe are more worthy than I was—they had less drugs and they’ve done more time,” he says. “It’s my hope that one day the president gives life back to those individuals.”

Read next: Obama Calls for Sweeping Criminal Justice Reforms in NAACP Speech

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TIME justice

Obama Calls for Sweeping Criminal Justice Reforms in NAACP Speech

President Barack Obama speaks during the NAACP's 106th National Convention in Philadelphia on July 14, 2015.
Saul Loeb—AFP/Getty Images President Barack Obama speaks during the NAACP's 106th National Convention in Philadelphia on July 14, 2015.

President Obama outlined an ambitious roadmap for criminal justice reform during an address at the NAACP convention Tuesday.

In a 45-minute speech, Obama called for reducing or eliminating mandatory minimum sentences, reviewing the use of the solitary confinement and barring employers from asking job applicants about their criminal history, among other things.

“Any system that allows us to turn a blind-eye to hopelessness and despair, that’s not a justice system, that’s an injustice system,” Obama said Tuesday. “Justice is not only the absence of oppression, it’s the presence of opportunity.”

While Obama has touched on many of the individual policy ideas in the past, the speech was the first in recent memory to tie them all together into a blueprint for action. The speech likely presages a series of upcoming executive actions on criminal justice reform.

The speech varied, with Obama at times speaking passionately about the need for reform, and at other times delving into statistics to make his case.

Obama’s remarks included a litany of daunting statistics: that America is home to 5% of world’s population but 25% of world’s prisons, that African Americans and Latinos make up 30% of the U.S. population, but 60% of American inmates. But Obama said he’s found hope in the fact that politicians on both sides of the aisle have taken up the issue.

MORE: Bipartisan Push for Criminal Justice Reform Sets Its Agenda

Back in in Washington, a bipartisan group of Senators gathered on Tuesday to discuss getting criminal justice reform passed this legislative year. In the House, a group of lawmakers formed a caucus focused on criminal justice reform.

“We’re at a moment when some good people in both parties, Republicans and Democrats, and folks all across the country are coming together around ideas to make the system work smarter. To make it work better and I’m determined to do my part, wherever I can,” Obama said in a video posted to Facebook on Monday.

At the NAACP convention in Philadelphia, Obama noted the “strange bedfellows” that efforts to reform the criminal justice system have created, among them the Koch brothers and the NAACP. At one point, he even quoted Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who is running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, drawing a mixed response from the crowd.

Obama told the crowd early on that he wasn’t going to sing, but the commander-in-chief did some preaching on a topic that has been a focus of his second term agenda. Initiatives including the Department of Justice’s Smart on Crime program aimed at reducing the impact of our nation’s dated drug laws, My Brother’s Keeper, and the Clemency Project have all been Obama-led initiatives to reform the criminal justice system.

MORE: Watch President Obama Sing ‘Amazing Grace’ at Slain Pastor’s Funeral

The initiatives have not been without criticism, however—lawmakers have long called for more action on policies that reduce sentences and provide more opportunities to communities that are more often impacted by tough sentencing laws.

The speech came at the start of a week marked by hefty achievements by the Obama administration on the criminal justice front. On Monday, Obama reduced the sentences of 46 federal inmates who had been incarcerated for committing non-violent, low-level drug offenses over the past two decades. The new round of commutations brings Obama’s total issued up to 89—more than any U.S. president since Lyndon Johnson. The commutations were the latest in the administration’s effort to rollback some of the damage caused by the nation’s drug laws.

On Thursday, Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit a federal prison when he travels to Federal Correctional Institution El Reno. Obama is expected to meet with inmates during the prison stop, and on Tuesday he said he met with four—one Latino, one white, and two black—before jumping on stage at the convention.

“While people in our prisons have made some mistakes, and sometimes big mistakes. They are also Americans and we have to make sure that as they do their time that we are increasing the possibility that they can turn their lives around,” Obama said. “Justice and redemption go hand in hand.”

Read Next: Will Congress Reform the Criminal Justice System?

TIME justice

Citizenfour Filmmaker Laura Poitras Is Suing the U.S. Over Years of Alleged Harassment

Director Laura Poitras arrives to attend the Chaplin award at Alice Tully Hall in New York April 27, 2015.
Eduardo Munoz—Reuters Director Laura Poitras arrives to attend the Chaplin award at Alice Tully Hall in New York April 27, 2015.

Poitras said she was "subjected to years of Kafkaesque harassment" at U.S. and foreign borders

Oscar and Pulitzer Prize-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras filed a lawsuit Monday against the U.S. government to find out why she has been searched, questioned and subject to enhanced security screenings over the course of six years at U.S. and overseas airports.

Poitras, who won an Academy Award this year for Citizenfour, her documentary about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, claims that between 2006 and 2012 she was detained every time she entered the U.S. for work.

After filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests last year for case files, surveillance records and documents naming or related to her, Poitras received scant response.

“I’m filing this lawsuit because the government uses the U.S. border to bypass the rule of law,” Poitras said in a statement released by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “This simply should not be tolerated in a democracy.”

The 51-year-old Boston native said she was filing the FOIA suit against the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in support of “the countless other less high-profile people who have also been subjected to years of Kafkaesque harassment at the borders.”

Poitras says that during various detentions she was told by airport security agents that she had a criminal record, even though she had not, and that her name appeared on a national security threat database.

According to the suit, she also had her mobile phone, laptop, camera and notebooks seized and was once threatened with handcuffing for taking notes during her detention.

TIME Crime

Jail’s Error Allowed Charleston Shooting Suspect to Buy Gun

Dylann Roof
Jason Miczek — Reuters Police lead suspected shooter Dylann Roof into the courthouse in Shelby, North Carolina, June 18, 2015.

Correction on Dylann Roof's record was not sent to the authorities on time

(LEXINGTON, S.C.) — An employee at the Lexington County jail entered the wrong information into a database of South Carolina arrests, allowing the man charged with killing nine people at a Charleston church to buy the gun authorities say was used in the attack.

Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon told The Associated Press on Monday the wrong information about which agency arrested Dylann Roof on a drug charge was corrected two days after his Feb. 28 arrest. That correction wasn’t sent to the State Law Enforcement Division, which maintains the records that the FBI checks.

When the FBI did its check in April, an examiner called Lexington County deputies, who said the arrest took place in Columbia. Before the examiner could find the report, the waiting period expired and the gun was sold.

TIME Crime

‘El Chapo’ Began Escape Plan in 2014

Internal DEA documents reveal the agents learned about plans a month after Joaquin Guzman's arrest

(MEXICO CITY) — Mexico’s most notorious drug trafficker began plotting to break out of prison almost immediately after his recapture at a seaside resort in February 2014.

Internal Drug Enforcement Administration documents obtained by The Associated Press reveal that drug agents first got information in March 2014 that various family members and drug-world associates of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman were considering “potential operations to free Guzman.”

The DEA alerted Mexican authorities 16 months ago about the plans, said a U.S. official briefed on the investigation. The official was not authorized to disclose the details and insisted on anonymity to do so.

Mexican Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong denied Monday night that authorities in Mexico were ever informed of potential escapes.

“They themselves have told us that they don’t know where that information came from,” he said referring to U.S. counterparts and the AP’s report.

The Mexican government announced that it is offering a 60 million-peso ($3.8 million) reward for Guzman’s recapture and that it has fired three prison system officials, including the director of the prison where Guzman escaped. Forty-nine people have been questioned by the government’s organized crime unit, including 32 prison employees.

Widely considered the world’s richest and most powerful drug trafficker before his capture last year, Guzman slipped down a shaft from his prison cell’s shower area late Saturday and disappeared into a sophisticated mile-long (1.5 kilometer-long) tunnel with ventilation, lighting and a motorcycle apparently used to move dirt.

The DEA documents indicate U.S. agents did not have information about Saturday night’s escape, which was the second time Guzman has fled from one of Mexico’s highest security prisons.

But the documents revealed that in March 2014 agents in Los Angeles reported a possible escape operation funded by Rafael Caro-Quintero, who helped orchestrate the 1985 kidnapping and murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. That plot involved threatening or bribing prison officials. The same investigation revealed four months later that Guzman’s son had sent a team of lawyers and military counter-intelligence personnel to design a break-out plan.

In December of that year, agents in the DEA’s Houston Field Division reported that a Mexican army general stated “that a deal was in place to release both Guzman-Loera and imprisoned Los Zetas Cartel leader Miguel Angel ‘Z-40′ Trevino-Morales.”

The DEA documents obtained by the AP do not include details of how the previous escape plots would be carried out. In them, Guzman is identified as Guzman-Loera.

A widespread manhunt that included highway checkpoints, stepped up border security and closure of an international airport failed to turn up any trace of Guzman.

Since the 1990s his violent and powerful cartel has been known for digging sophisticated smuggling tunnels under the U.S. border with Mexico. Guzman was first arrested in 1993 but escaped in Jalisco from one of Mexico’s top-security prisons in January 2001. He evaded capture in early February 2014 through an elaborate network of tunnels that connected multiple safe houses in Culiacan, in his home state of Sinaloa. He was arrested in the resort city of Mazatlan later that month.

Jim Dinkins, the former head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit, said Guzman’s history of tunneling makes Saturday’s escape “really ingenious.” The sophisticated tunnel described by Mexican authorities would usually take about 18 to 24 months to complete, Dinkins said, suggesting it was started almost immediately after Guzman’s arrest in 2014.

The White House said Monday that U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke with Mexico’s attorney general the day after the escape was discovered. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the U.S. government has offered its full support to Mexico. He pointed out that Guzman has also been charged with serious crimes in the U.S.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Guzman’s “swift recapture by Mexican authorities is a priority for both the Mexican and the U.S. governments.”

Along with the 2014 escape plans, the DEA documents reveal Guzman was still directing facets of his drug empire.

“Despite being imprisoned in a ‘high security’ facility, DEA reporting further indicates Guzman-Loera was able to provide direction to his son and other cartel members via the attorneys who visited (him) in prison and possibly through the use of a cellphone provided … by corrupt prison guards,” the documents stated.

Following Guzman’s capture in 2014, according to the documents, his son Ivan Guzman-Salazar became “the de facto leader of the Guzman branch of the Sinaloa Cartel.” Guzman’s “right-hand man, Damaso Lopez-Nunez,” took over one of the four major trafficking organizations that operated under the auspices of the larger Sinaloa Cartel.


Associated Press writer Alicia A. Caldwell reported this story from Washington and Katherine Corcoran reported in Mexico City. AP writer Mark Stevenson in Mexico City contributed to this report.

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