Joaquín Guzmán Loera, aka "El Chapo," is a Mexican medicine lord who was head the the Sinaloa cartel, the world"s most an effective drug-trafficking organization.

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Who Is 'El Chapo?'

Joaquín Guzmán Loera entered the drug profession as a teenager. Nicknamed "El Chapo" (or "Shorty" for his 5'6" height) he founded the Sinaloa cartel in 1989, end time structure it into an extremely profitable an international drug-trafficking operation. Known for his violent plot and powerful influence, Guzmán properly orchestrated daring escapes from maximum-security prisons in his house country. One together escape come in July 2015, although he to be recaptured the complying with January in the mexico city of Los Mochis. Extradited to brand-new York City to stand trial, the medicine lord to be convicted the a slew of charges and sentenced to life in jail in 2019.

Early Years

Mexican medicine lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera to be born in the landscape Mexican city of Badiraguato. The day of his bear is thought to be April 4, 1957, follow to Time magazine, although various other outlets list December 25, 1954, as his birthday. Guzmán’s childhood was shaped by his family’s poverty and his abusive father, a violent male who remained in the drug trade.

By his teens, Guzmán had been kicked out of the household home and also was forced to make his own way. With small schooling in his background, he eventually uncovered himself following his father's path, farming marijuana for little amounts that cash.

Rise come Power

By the late 1970s, Guzmán had actually proven his worth in the medicine business and begun working with an additional rising young dealer named Héctor luis Palma Salazar. Guzmán looked after the activity of drugs from his residence district of Sinaloa, a crucial drug trafficking area on the western end of Mexico wherein narcotics flowed north to seaside cities and also into the unified States.

through his late 20s, the quiet yet savvy Guzmán to be supervising logistics for an additional drug kingpin, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, founder of the Guadalajara cartel. Guzmán preserved a low profile, yet when his ceo was eventually arrested because that the 1985 murder of one American drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent, he easily emerged as among the brand-new faces the the Mexican drug world.

Sinaloa drug Cartel

Inheriting several of his previous boss’ territory, Guzmán started his own cartel, recognized as Sinaloa, in 1989. Through the at an early stage 1990s, Guzmán was on the radar the the DEA and also FBI and was taken into consideration one that Mexico's most an effective and dangerous medicine traffickers.

As the strength of the Colombian drug cartels choose Medellin and Cali started to wane, Sinaloa was amongst the Mexican institutions filling the void. Under Guzmán’s direction, that took manage of the cocaine trade prolonging from south America to the joined States.

Part that the success stemmed indigenous Sinaloa’s an innovative smuggling methods, most notably a collection of air-conditioned tunnels that ran under the Mexican-U.S. Border. Another method involved hiding cocaine powder inside fire extinguishers and also cans that were labeling “chili peppers.”

"What Al Capone to be to beer and also whiskey throughout Prohibition, Guzmán is to narcotics," said Art Bilek, executive, management vice chairman of the Chicago Crime Commission. "Of the two, Guzmán is by far the higher threat . . .And the has more power and also financial capacity than Capone ever before dreamed of." 

In enhancement to cocaine, Sinaloa trafficked heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine right into the U.S. And also beyond. Eventually, the cartel’s tentacles touched 5 continents and grew to be the biggest drug procedure in the world. 

Guzmán coupled that success with major muscle. He developed gangs through names such together “Los Chachos,” "Los Texas,” “Los Lobos” and “Los Negros” to defend his empire. End the years, Guzmán’s men have been accused the committing more than 1,000 murders throughout Mexico, the casualties consisting of both it is not enough ability henchmen and rival bosses.

Arrests and Escapes


In 1993, Guatemalan authorities arrested Guzmán and extradited him to Mexico, where he to be convicted and sentenced come a maximum-security prison for 20 years.

Even behind bars, however, Guzmán preserved his power. V bribes the arranged for conjugal visits and was largely allowed to run his medicine operation. V his near-mythical lore already established in Mexico — numerous villages in his house district saw Guzmán as a Robin Hood-like figure — his legend thrived in 2001 when, through the assist of bribed prison guards, the escaped prison via a to wash cart. A federal examination led to the arrest of 71 jail employees, including the warden.

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On the lam but not the end of the medicine business, Guzmán just tightened his control and also expanded his fortunes over the next decade and also a half. In 2009, Sinaloa was supposedly pulling in $3 exchange rate annually, placing Guzmán’s net worth at about $1 billion. That earned the the No. 701 ranking top top the Forbes perform of the world's richest people.

Guzmán quickly became the No. 1 medicine target that the U.S. Government, which offered a $5 million prize for details that caused his arrest. In 2012, the U.S. Authorities froze the American heritage of his household members. 

An aggressive attack on medicine cartels started by the Mexican federal government in 2006 failure to uncover Guzmán, who moved freely around his country. He even got married throughout that time period, celebrate the event with a large party that included police officers and local politicians among the guests.

In February 2014, Guzmán was ultimately apprehended in a hotel in the Pacific beach town of Mazatlán, Mexico. Decreasing requests by American public official to have Guzmán extradited to the unified States, mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto vowed the Guzmán wouldn’t to escape again.