Sunday, August 23, 2009

Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman

Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman

Alias: El Chapo (Shorty)
Cartel: Sinaloa
Born: La Tuna, Sinaloa, 1957
Rewards: $5 million (FBI), $2 million (Mexican PGR)

Bio: Hunted from city mansions to mountain caves but always disappearing in a puff of smoke, the 5-foot-6-inch king of kingpins is indisputably the most high-profile drug trafficker in Mexico today.

Growing up in a ramshackle village in the wild Sierra Madre mountains, Guzman is said to have apprenticed in the drug world under the legendary smuggler Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, alias “The Godfather.”


Following Felix’s 1989 imprisonment for ordering the murder of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Guzman emerged as one of the top trafficking powers, waging a bloody war against the Tijuana Cartel for control of smuggling routes into California and Arizona.

In 1993, Tijuana Cartel gunmen shot dead Catholic Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo in Guadalajara airport. Prosecutors then said the killers had been after Guzman but got the wrong man.


Later that year, Guzman was arrested in Guatemala and extradited to Mexico, where he was incarcerated in a so-called maximum security prison. But in 2001, he escaped by driving out in a laundry truck.

He is accused of using intricate smuggling tunnels to move his drugs, such as one discovered leading into Douglas, Ariz. He also is alleged to be behind one 7-ton shipment of cocaine hidden in cans of chili peppers.

In cities and towns across the country, he is reported to turn up at restaurants with his entourage and pay for everyone’s meals. But dozens of raids and special operations to net him have always come up short.

He reportedly married his third wife, a village beauty queen, on her 18th birthday in 2007.

In May 2008, gunmen killed his son, university student Edgar Guzman, in a murder that is said to have sparked a violent war with the Beltran Leyva Organization.

In 2009, Forbes included Guzman on its billionaire list with a net worth of $1 billion, a feature that was widely criticized in Mexico.


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