The world's most powerful drug lord has escaped from a maximum security Mexican prison. Authorities have launched a manhunt to find drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman, Mexico's National Security Commission said Sunday.

The kingpin known as "El Chapo," who headed the Sinaloa Cartel, escaped through a hole in the shower into a tunnel complete with stairs, electricity and ventilation nearly a mile long, guards at the Altiplano Federal Prison discovered Saturday.

Guzman was "considered the world's most powerful drug lord until his arrest in Mexico in February 2014," according to the Department of Justice. He was on the Forbes list of the world's most powerful men, with a personal net worth of over a billion dollars.

The U.S. Justice Department describes the cartel Guzman headed as "one of the world's most prolific, violent and powerful drug cartels."

This is Guzman's second escape. He escaped in a laundry cart in 2001 from a high-security prison and was not apprehended again until 2014.

Eighteen prison guards have been arrested under speculation that such an elaborate escape was not possible without corruption.

"The Sinaloa Cartel moves drugs by land, air, and sea, including cargo aircraft, private aircraft, submarines and other submersible and semi-submersible vessels, container ships, supply vessels, go-fast boats, fishing vessels, buses, rail cars, tractor trailers, trucks, automobiles, and private and commercial interstate and foreign carriers," according to the Justice Department.

In January, the Justice Department unsealed indictments of 60 members of the cartel, including Guzman's son, Ivan Guzman-Salazar known as "El Chapito," CNN reports.

The cartel imports cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, other drugs and the chemicals necessary to process methamphetamine into Mexico from Columbia and other countries, a news release from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California said. It then launders money and smuggles drugs from San Diego to distribute throughout the U.S.

Guzman is the subject of best-selling books in Mexico and the "adoring songs known as narcocorridos," CNN reports. His drug exploits have become legendary. He is wanted in the U.S. for several federal crimes related to his drug trafficking and organized crime activities.