The Tools That Kept El Chapo Free

el chapo counter surveillanceJoaquín Guzmán Loera, or “El Chapo” Guzmán, was a notorious Mexican drug lord up until late February when he was arrested by Mexican authorities after escaping from prison in 2001 and living 13 years on the lam. How did he evade capture for so long? ABC

News offered a list of potential counter-surveillance tools he may have used, and our CEO Todd Morris weighed in on why.

El Chapo, which translates to “Shorty” (he was 5’6″, a fact we can mock now that he’s incarcerated and unable to make us disappear), headed the Sinaloa Cartel based out of the Mexican Pacific coast state of the same name. For the past 13 years he had been living in remote areas of the Sierra Madre mountains, but had recently begun venturing into nearby towns, including Mazatlán, where he was arrested.

In order to keep police off of his trail, El Chapo invested in the latest and greatest counter-surveillance equipment.

“He didn’t spare any expenses when it came to protecting himself,” one official told the Associated Press. “It was top-notch.”

ABC News recently highlighted some of the tools the drug lord may have used to keep himself hidden in plain sight. BrickHouse’s founder and CEO Todd Morris was interviewed in the piece, which also included some of our professional counter-surveillance devices.

The included items featured a Spectrum Analyzer, which “looks for unknown signals and voltage changes,” according to Morris. El Chapo would have used this device to detect bugs.

El Chapo may have also used a Wireless Signal Detector, which would have helped him figure out if there were any cellular devices operating in the area, even if they’re on a different network.

“If all your burner cell phones are on the T-Mobile network and you find a [different] CDMA signal, you’re going to be able to track it down,” Morris told ABC.

Other devices that the story highlighted included a Non-Linear Junction Detector, which searches for microwave signals, and a Cellular Jammer, an illegal device in many countries.

El Chapo Guzmán, however, never had much of a problem breaking

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To learn more about counter-surveillance devices, click here. Image via Abd allah Foteih, licensed under Creative Commons

About the author  ⁄ Erik Helin

Erik is BrickHouse Security's copy chief. Hailing from the Midwest (Wisconsin), Erik moved to NYC in 2010, securing a job at BrickHouse shortly thereafter. Outside of work he writes about music, does freelance advertising work, and wastes his life on the internet. Aside from no-brainers like cheese and beer, Erik enjoys music, travel, TV, his cat, and Brooklyn.