Latin America & Caribbean

Soldier guarding 'El Chapo' Guzman found murdered in Mexico

Military personnel keep watch at a checkpoint on the perimeter of a high security prison where drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is imprisoned in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico May 11, 2016 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Three hundred soldiers have been deployed to guard the prison where 'El Chapo' is being held

Mexican police are investigating the murder of a soldier who was part of the team guarding the recaptured notorious drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, at a prison in northern Mexico.

The body of Jorge Mauricio Melendez Herrera, 20, was found on Friday in Ciudad Juarez, with signs of torture.

Investigators said Mr Melendez was part of the first ring of security guarding the outside of the jail in the city.

Guzman has previously escaped from two top security prisons in Mexico.

Who is 'El Chapo' Guzman?

El Chapo timeline

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has twice escaped from maximum security prisons

January 2001: Escaped from Puente Grande maximum security prison, reportedly hiding in a laundry basket

February 2014: Captured after 13 years on the run in a hotel in Sinaloa state

July 2015: Escaped via tunnel from Altiplano prison

January 2016: Recaptured in city of Los Mochis, Sinaloa state

May 2016: Moved from Altiplano maximum security prison to a jail in Ciudad Juarez, near the US border

A forensic expert said Mr Melendez had died from a blow to the back of the neck. He had also been stabbed a number of times.

His body was identified after his family reported him missing.

Officials said the case was currently with authorities in Chihuahua state, where the jail is located, but could be passed on to federal investigators because of the victim's job guarding Guzman.

Three hundred soldiers have been deployed from nearby barracks to boost security at the prison in Ciudad Juarez.

He was moved there at the beginning of May from the maximum security Altiplano prison. Officials said the move was part of a routine rotation for security reasons.

How authorities hope to stop another escape

Extradition moves

The United States has asked for Guzman's extradition so he can stand trial on drug trafficking charges there.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Lucero Sanchez has been suspended from the Sinaloa Congress

While Mexico has agreed, Guzman's lawyer is currently appealing.

The US has in the past expressed concern about whether Mexico can keep Guzman locked up after he twice escaped from maximum security jails.

Eleven guards and officials are in prison pending trial on charges that they helped the drug lord escape from Altiplano prison through a 1.5km-long tunnel last year.

And on Tuesday, a regional lawmaker from the state of Sinaloa was stripped of her post for her alleged links with Guzman.

Lucero Guadalupe Sanchez Lopez allegedly visited Guzman in prison prior to his jailbreak in July 2015, giving a false identity.

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