Colombian cartel boss ‘put on prison guard’s uniform and walked out of jail’

A notorious drug lord awaiting extradition to the United States has pulled off a daring escape from a Colombian maximum security jail – by dressing in a prison guard's uniform and simply strolling out of the prison.

CCTV footage shows Juan Castro, alleged to be the second-in-command of the country's largest drug cartel Clan del Golfo [Gulf Clan] walking through several security doors at the supermax La Picota penitentiary before making his escape.

One of the doors was reportedly left open by National Penitentiary and Prison Institute inspector Miltón Jímenez, who has since been arrested on suspicion of aiding Castro’s escape.

No guards can be seen in the footage and only a small dog appears to notice Castro, also known by the street name "Matamba" leaving the prison.

Some of the prison’s security cameras appeared to have been disabled shortly before Castro’s escape.

Prison director Juan Gordillo, and over 50 guards have also been suspended amid allegations that bribes amounting to some $5million had been paid to prison staff.

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Reacting to news of Castro’s escape, Colombian President Iván Duque announced “a comprehensive reform of the Colombian penitentiary and prison system,” adding that the country’s penal system “cannot continue to have these behaviours without exemplary sanctions”.

Castro had been arrested at least a dozen times and made multiple escape attempts in the past – on one occasion faking his own death in a bid for freedom.

He underwent radical plastic surgery to avoid detection but was arrested in May 2021, and charged with multiple dugs offences and was wanted for extradition by the United States.

Castro is reportedly boss of the Cordillera Sur, a faction of the Gulf Clan.

The organisation is known to have connections with a Colombian revolutionary group, the National Liberation Army, as well as the two most powerful drug-trafficking gangs organisations in Mexico, the Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

Castro’s whereabouts are currently unknown but there is widespread speculation that he may have boarded an aircraft in the capital Bogotá and may have left the country.

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