Mexico Drug War

Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET

For the second time in 15 years, Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has escaped from a maximum security prison — this time less than 18 months after his re-arrest and a pledge from authorities that he would not get out again.

Mexico's National Security Commission said in a statement that Guzman went to the showers shortly after 9 p.m. A later check of his cell found it empty.

Forty-two suspected gang members and one Federal Police officer were killed in a shootout at a ranch in western Mexico that is being described as the deadliest such encounter in recent memory.

Heroin, today, is killing more and more people in rural America.

One Mexican cartel has seeded low-cost heroin around rural towns in the Southwest and Midwest, selling it cheap and easy, almost like pizza.

Madison, Neb. — population 2,500 — is just a speck of a town, a two-hour drive from the big-city bustle of Omaha. But it's not far enough away to avoid the growing impact of heroin.

"The world's gotten smaller," says Police Chief Rod Waterbury. "If drugs can make it to Chicago, they can make it here."

Battles between rival drug gangs are flaring in the northeastern Mexican city of Matamoros. Kidnapping is increasingly being used by the narco-traffickers as an income generator. One kidnapping victim tells NPR his story.

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Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission is dealing with a new case of alleged violations by federal officials. This complaint, however, comes from the country's most vicious and notorious criminals — more than 100 of them.

Nearly 140 prisoners at Mexico's maximum security prison say they're being housed in unsafe and inhumane conditions.

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