We have all heard of wealthy businessmen like Bill Gates – but there is also an underworld of incredibly rich and powerful men who control much of the international trade in drugs.
Their many successes makes one wonder whether there is any point in having a “war” on drugs – it seems to not be helping a great deal. This list looks at the most powerful Mexican drug lords in modern history.
In 1999, in Matamoros, he allegedly threatened to kill two U.S. federal agents (one from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and another from the Drug Enforcement Administration) who were transporting a Gulf Cartel informant through Matamoros.
Cardenas and more than a dozen of his men surrounded the agents’ car near downtown. After a tense standoff, the agents were able to talk their way out of being killed by reminding Cárdenas that the U.S. would hunt him for the rest of his life. After the incident, theFederal Bureau of Investigation would offer a $2 million award for Cárdenas’ arrest.
Cárdenas was captured by the Mexican Army in a battle with Gulf Cartel soldiers on March 14, 2003 in Matamoros.Though subsequently incarcerated at Penal del Altiplano (La Palma), Mexico’s top security prison, it was widely believed that he continued to have control over Gulf Cartel business from within prison walls.
On January 20, 2007, he was extradited to the United States to stand trial for conspiracy to import multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine into the United States, as well as the 1999 incident involving the two U.S. Federal Agents. Jailed or not, on May 1, 2008, Cárdenas threw a Day of the Child party for 2,000 people in Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, replete with banners, ponies, clowns, food and music.
As the top drug trafficker in Mexico, Carrillo was transporting four times more cocaine to the U.S. than any other trafficker in the world, building a fortune of over US$25 billion.
He was called El Señor de los Cielos (“The Lord of the Skies”) for his pioneering use of over 22 private 727 jet airliners to transport Colombian cocaine to municipal airports, and dirt airstrips around Mexico, including Juárez.
In the months before his death, The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration described Carrillo asthe most powerful drug trafficker of his era, and many analysts claimed profits neared $25 billion, making him one of the world’s wealthiest men.