It is already being termed the jailbreak of the millennium, and by sober media voices.
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the most wanted of Mexico's drug lords and according to some accounts the world's 14th richest man, would have breezed along the mile-long tunnel dug just for him on a specially modified motorcycle or one of the two carts it pushed on two steel rails.
A visit on Tuesday by journalists to the tunnel's exit in an unfinished barn near the prison that held Guzman provided a look at the last few yards that the leader of the Sinaloa cartel traversed to make his second escape from a Mexican maximum-security lockup.
Tracks guiding the modified motorcycle end two or three steps from the base of a wooden ladder with 17 rungs that he would have scrambled up. The air in the tunnel is warm and humid and fine dust coats everything.
Reaching the top, a step leads into a small basement dominated by a blue generator as big as a compact car.
Then it is six strides to another ladder.
One, two, three steps up. The air thins. The temperature drops 10 degrees.
Four. Five. Six, the last rung. One more step and Guzman stood on the dusty floor of the barn, where the digging crew had left 4-inch by 4-inch wooden beams, 8-foot- tall coils of steel mesh, gallons of hydraulic fluid, 10-foot lengths of PVC pipe and an electric disc saw.
Seven strides and the man who Mexico's government said would not repeat his 2001 prison escape stepped through a sliding steel door into the chilly night on the high plain west of the capital.
For the first time since his latest capture, on February 22, 2014, Guzman was a free man.
Image: A photographer exits a tunnel connected to the Altiplano Federal Penitentiary and used by drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman to escape, in Almoloya de Juarez, on the outskirts of Mexico City, July 14, 2015.
Text: Christopher Sherman, Associated Press