Yesterday, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera was celebrating.
It wasn't for nothing.
He reached nine years of having escaped from the prison in Puente Grande, Jalisco. And nine years later the authorities not only have failed to capture him, but the criminal group that heads the Sinaloa cartel, has hardly been touched and "El Chapo" has the luxury to be listed as one of the magnates in Forbes magazine.
Not too shabby for the country's most powerful drug trafficker, eh?
On 19 January 2001, when Vicente Fox made his debut in Los Pinos, Guzman Loera, walked out the front door of the then considered maximum security prison. The power of "El Chapo" not only managed to corrupt the authorities of the jail facility, but that was enough for the boss to take absolute control of the Sinaloa cartel.
Today he is one of the most wanted drug traffickers in Mexico and the U.S., where the DEA offers five million dollars for his capture, while the PGR offers 30 million dollars for information leading to his arrest.
But he could care less. He does what he wants at will. He seems untouchable.
Even when the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Durango, Hector Gonzalez Martinez, provided inormation that the drug dealer lived near the town of Guanacevi, located some 300 kilometers northwest of the capital of Durango, Guzman Loera has avoided capture. "A little past Guanacevi is approximately where "El Chapo" lives. We all know it, except for the authority," said the prelate. But nobody has ben able to stop him and he is as happy as ever.
The history of "El Chapo" is extensive. He began his rise in organized crime in 1980, when he associated with the drug lord Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, then head of the Guadalajara cartel. Following his arrest, the capo founded the organization that he now runs, establishing himself as the most important drug trafficker in Mexico.
He is attributed in the involvement of the shooting of nightclub "Christine", which occurred in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco in 1992, in the killing of Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo in May 1993 in Guadalajara, and the execution of Rodolfo Carrillo Fuentes, in September 2004 in Culiacan.
The leader of the Sinaloa cartel was arrested on June 9, 1993, on the border between Guatemala and Mexico, and sent to maximum security prison of La Palma, but is now called Altiplano and is located in the state of Mexico. Subsequently, on November 22, 1995 he was transferred to the prison in Puente Grande, Jalisco, where he escaped on January 19, 2001 while serving a sentence of 20 years in prison for crimes against society, conspiracy and bribery.
Although Mexican authorities have repeatedly stated that the capture of Guzman Loera is a priority, except the fact remains that "El Chapo" continues to collect victories. Just last year he reached the most wanted list, but he also made another list, that of one of the richest man in the world. According to Forbes magazine, the drug dealer is in 701 place with a fortune of one billion dollars amassed by him in the supposed trade of "shipping and transportation." And believe me, he is not mailing ceramic figures on Ebay.
Like if that wasn't enough, months later, the influential Time magazine placed him as one of the hundred most influential people in the world. Not bad for a fugitive from justice.
And what is barely credible is that the country's most wanted drug lord, after nine years, there is no clear sign of his whereabouts and not only that, his criminal organization continues to grow.
"El Chapo" has much to celebrate. Not only because he has nine years on the run and seems untouchable, but because the Sinaloa cartel has been the least touched by federal authorities.
Why is that so?
With the recent death of Arturo Beltran Leyva, Guzman Loera benefited the most, as they took out a declared enemy and he can now operate more freely.
So yes, "El Chapo" has reason to celebrate. He certainly should be held accountable and should he be in prison right now, but the truth be known, he only serves to top the list of the popular and wealthy, and given time he will lead the most powerful drug cartel to rein control of the whole country and even perhaps expand worlwide. All in front of the complacent eyes of the Mexican authorities.
How do you see it?