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El Chapo Guzman

El Chapo GuzmanThe date of birth of El Chapo Guzmán is not clear. Some argue that his advent occurred on December 25, 1954. Others, on April 4, 1957. It is not our intention to join in the controversy; but it is strange that in these times of civilized country civil registries they cannot provide precision on the data, so I respectfully suggest to the reader to focus on what is certain.

What is certain is that he was born in a very humble home in Badiraguato, Sinaloa and that perhaps he forged his vocation for drug trafficking or related, because his father was dedicated to the activity that was the economic base of the place: opium cultivation.

El Chapo Guzmán Family

He has a total of nine siblings, six younger than himself, Bernarda, Armida, Arturo, Aureliano, Emilio and Michelangelo, and three older ones who died when he was young.

He married a total of four times:

  • In 1977 he married for the first time Alejandrina Salazar, with whom he had a total of 4 children, Jesús Alfredo, Giselle Alejandrina, Iván Archivaldo and Cesar.
  • With his second wife Estela Peña he had no children.
ivan archivaldo guzman salazar
ivan archivaldo guzman salazar
  • His third wife was Griselda López Pérez, with whom he had four children, Ovid, Edgar, Griselda and Joaquín.
  • In 2007 he married Emma Coronel who was once Miss Sinaloa. He had twins with her, María Joaquina and Emali Guadalupe.

¿How does El Chapo Guzmán start in drug trafficking?

The nearest school was 60 kilometers away; a fact that made his attendance a titanic task that he got tired of when he was fifteen years old to dedicate himself to planting marijuana, creating a one-link distribution chain represented by his uncle Pedro Avilés Pérez. That’s when he got the nickname El Chapo because of his short stature.

By 1980, El Chapo got a job with the Guadalajara Cartel, which was led by Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, AKA The Godfather, who at the time was the main exporter of white powder in Mexico. Nine years later the latter was arrested by the authorities and prosecuted.

The market was still there, the needs intact, so someone had to work to satisfy them and there was no need for anyone else to be willing to do so; therefore, the dispute arose between the Arellano Felix brothers and Joaquin Guzman, who decided to move away from the agave plantations typical of the region and approach the main export market of the desired alkaloid known as Cocaine.

the beginnings of el chapo guzman in drug trafficking

Guzman decides to move to Culiacan where he would found the much-feared Sinaloa Cartel, while the Arellano Felix takes control of Baja California and founds the Tijuana Cartel.

As the years passed, the two cartels would become lethal enemies, to the point of starring in a violent shooting at the Guadalajara International Airport, leaving a toll of 7 dead including Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo.

The Name of El Chapo Guzman Begins to Sound in Public Opinion

May 24, 1993, it seemed like one more day at Guadalajara International Airport, Mexico. Suddenly, the shooting breaks out. They’re all running for cover from the heavy rain of bullets. Nobody cared who the good guys were and who the bad guys were. People was just worried about not being in the path of some unaddressed bullet.

The terrifying silence came. Everything seemed to have finished. The bodies on the ground began to move in disarray. Those who went alone, to touch themselves looking for wounds, some blood flow, to see around them some supportive face that indicated that they had something they could not see for themselves and that would be potentially lethal if not treated in time.

They were accompanied, at the same time, to embrace their partner in the act of witnessing an event where they could lose their lives. A lot of them moved minus seven bodies. One of them was about who in life had as surnames Posadas Ocampo and as names Juan Jesus.

Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo
Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo

Nothing less and nothing more than a Prince of the Church, a representative of the Faith, an eventual candidate to occupy the Throne that Jesus of Nazareth one day gave to Peter with the sentence: “You shall be called Peter and on your rock you shall build my Church” in the event of the death of the Pope in office. A Cardinal of the Church of Rome.

The dispute

¿Why was the fury unleashed as a consequence of the anticipated encounter of these seven souls with the Almighty? None of them thought that that day, which seemed like just another day, would be the end of their traffic through this valley of tears.

The police were little more than baffled. In a few moments, one of the inspectors, while supervising the work of planimetric survey of the event site and the removal of the bodies, said: “This is not for us, Güey. These dead men are from the forces of the hereafter.”

In fact, a few hours later, the investigations reached a preliminary conclusion, but no less than that: The death toll was the result of one more battle in the war between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Tijuana Cartel.

Such a battle is usually underground, far from the watchful eye of the authorities. Some of them are complacent about receiving tips in exchange for their cooperation, others are determined to collaborate to put an end to a modern plague that eats away and degrades contemporary society such as drug trafficking.

To this day (2018) this case has not yet been fully clarified and there are several hypotheses about the death of the Cardinal:

  • The first, which he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, he simply died as a result of a confrontation between enemy cartels.
  • The second, according to specialists who had been gathering evidence for years, it was that the cardinal was shot to death pointblank, and the shooting was simply a trap to make it look like an accidental death, since he apparently had evidence that involved politics in drug trafficking.

Whatever the case, the authorities blamed Guzmán for the crime, saying that it was him who started the shooting against the Arellanos. two weeks later he is captured.

¿How was the First Capture and First Escape of El Chapo Guzman?

El Chapo was first captured on June 9, 1993 in Cuauhtémoc city on the southern border of Mexico. The operation for this capture and subsequent handing over to the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic of Mexico was coordinated by the General of the Guatemalan Army Otto Pérez Molina, who after a few years would be elected President of Guatemala and later removed from office on corruption charges.

The first place of detention assigned was the Federal Center for Social Rehabilitation, and later he was transferred in November 1995 to the Puente Grande Prison in Jalisco, one of the most armored prisons in the country at the time.

In prison he was treated with respect and everybody called him “Sir” and “Mr Joaquín”. He enjoyed certain privileges such as access to the press, a cell phone, and alcoholic beverages. He would bring women who spent days in his cell without any restrictions, and he also managed to complete high school.

With just over 7 years in prison, on January 19, 2001, El Chapo escaped in a vehicle that provided laundry services, in a task that involved 71 people including 15 prison guards.

El Chapo Guzman Consolidates as the Most Wanted Drug Lord in the World

The time of disappearance after his escape has been the subject of much speculation, both real and literary. What is certain is that he was dedicated to his drug trafficking activities.

The most repeated hypothesis by the United States intelligence services is the one related to his refuge in Bolivia, specifically in the city of Santa Cruz de La Sierra, where his son took the course of Commercial Pilot at the airport of El Trompillo that serves that city in the Andean country.

El chapo guzman reward
Reward for El Chapo Guzman

The governments of the United States and Mexico put a price on the information that would allow his capture in the amounts of 5 million dollars in the case of Uncle Sam and 60 million pesos in the country where he was born.

In 2011, after the death of terrorist Osama Bin Laden, El Chapo Guzmán would become the most wanted man on the planet.

¿How did El Chapo Guzman get the drug into the United States?

The Chapo used a lot of means to transport the drug, he did it through fishing boats, speedboats, submarines, cars, cargo planes. He even dug a 20-meter-deep tunnel a mile long from Mexican territory across the U.S. border to Otay Mesa in San Diego, California.

tunnel dug by el chapo guzman
Tunnel used by El Chapo Guzmán to transport the drug

Chicago was the headquarters of the Sinaloa Cartel in the USA, 90% of the cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine entering the city came from them.

His contact in the city was the brothers Pedro and Margarito Flores, with whom they had reached an agreement to sell them merchandise on credit. Given the brothers’ track record, the cartel did not mind receiving the money after the goods were sold.

The Flores Brothers Betray El Chapo Guzmán

Surprisingly, in 2008, the flower brothers betrayed El Chapo Guzmán and handed themselves over to justice, reaching an agreement with the DEA to become undercover agents and hand over evidence that incriminates the leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel. In exchange for this, they would avoid spending their entire lives in prison.

They were able to record conversations where Guzmán and his men talk about how they were using 747 planes with humanitarian aid to carry the merchandise, and they also recorded the drug lord talking about a shipment of heroin that he would carry out in the near future.

The flores brothers
The flores brothers

In total, they were able to record more than 60 recordings, and thanks to this and to the testimony of the brothers, the U.S. government asked the Mexican authorities to extradite him for the crimes of money laundering and conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the territory of the United States.

In 2013, the city of Chicago declared Joaquin Guzman its number one public enemy, thus becoming the second person to be awarded the title after Al Capone succeeded in doing so in 1930.

¿How was the Second Capture and Second Escape of El Chapo Guzmán?

On February 22, 2014, the President of Mexico announced via Twitter that Joaquin Guzman had been arrested by elements of the Mexican Navy in an operation with agents of the DEA and the U.S. Marshals in the city of Mazatlan, Sinaloa.

The drug lord was in a not very luxurious hotel room where he had apparently arrived a few days earlier to attend a party. By the time he was captured, he had a minimum of security.

He was taken to the maximum security prison “El Altiplano”, where at all times he distinguished himself for being an active promoter of the improvement of prison conditions, denouncing cruel treatment and the poor quality of food.

El chapo second capture

Only 16 months after his apprehension, El Chapo would once again humiliate the Mexican government, since on July 11, 2015 he showed his elusive character by escaping from his prison site again, this time taking advantage of an space in an area that was out of sight of the surveillance system’s cameras, where he opened a tunnel 70 to 80 centimeters wide, 1.70 meters high and more than 1500 meters long that would serve for the purposes of his evasion.

The tunnel contained rails with a motorcycle specially adapted to extract the soil and possibly transport the tools, as well as ventilation and lighting. The tunnel led to a building under construction.

Following the news of his disappearance, an operation was launched to recapture him both by air and by land, including the closure of the neighbouring Toluca airport.

¿Why Wasn’t Joaquin Guzman Extradited?

It is not clear why El Chapo was not extradited after his second arrest. Some say that President Peña Nieto wanted to send a message that Mexico was prepared to keep a criminal of this magnitude locked up.

Former Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam said at the time that he had no problem extraditing El Chapo, but that he should first serve his full sentence in Mexico.

Finally, there are always opinions that he was not extradited because they feared that El Chapo would expose the secrets of Mexican politicians.

El Chapo Guzman and His Dream of Reaching Hollywood

Guzman dreamed of a movie about his life, and many times he exchanged emails and text messages with the famous actress Kate del Castillo, famous for her role in the series “The Queen of the South“. He wanted to give her the rights to his film, he admired her for always telling the truth, and he was a fan of her TV series.

After his second escape, he would meet with the actress and the famous actor Sean Penn to finalize the details of the film. Likewise, Penn would take this opportunity to approach the drug lord to ask for an interview, which he accepted.

Both actors were strongly criticised by the press for their encounter with Guzman, and it was even suspected that they had some kind of relationship with the cartel. To all these accusations the actress responded that it was a simple witch hunt.

¿How was the Third and Final Capture of El Chapo Guzmán?

El Chapo did everything that a drug lord of his stature, who is being persecuted by the authorities, should not do. He wanted to make films, make books, he thought he was a free person, and his need to see the actress once again was one of the reasons for his capture.

In October 2015, the authorities carried out an operation to capture him, since they had placed him on a farm in Durango. Once again, however, the narco manages to escape.

Later, thanks to the intelligence work, he was again located among Sinaloa, Chihuahua and Durango, an area known as “El Triángulo Dorado” (The Golden Triangle) and a few days later in a house in the area. Authorities are on 24-hour alert for any movement that leads to their capture.

On January 6, strange movements are observed in the house.

El chapo third arrest

The next day a car arrives at the house and the authorities confirm that it is El Chapo.

In the early hours of the morning, the green light is given to the operation that would have the name “Black Swan” for the capture of the narco and they proceed to enter the building where they are received with open fire.

The authorities manage to control the area, however, Guzmán manages to escape through the sewer with his lieutenant Ivan Gastelum. However, a contingency plan had already been devised in the event of this happening.

El Chapo and his man decide to leave the sewers and steal a car to escape, but because it was reported stolen they manage to locate and stop it on the Los Mochis – Novojoa highway.

Thus, on January 8, 2016, as part of his routine of generating content for his Twitter account, the still President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, again announced the capture of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

El Chapo Guzman is Extradited to the United States

After his capture, Guzman was taken back to the Altiplano prison, from where he had escaped six months earlier, this time under conditions of extreme security.

El Chapo guzman is extradited
El Chapo guzman is extradited

On January 19, 2017, he was extradited to a New York prison where he pleaded not guilty to 17 criminal charges. His trial starts on September 5, 2018.

¿What is the difference between El Chapo Guzmán and Pablo Escobar?

Leaving aside the obvious differences as the place of origin, the cartel to which they belonged, we will focus on the most important differences.

Although both drug lords were world leaders in drug trafficking, Escobar was more powerful than El Chapo, who managed to get an entire country to kneel at his feet and do what he wanted, such as force them to change the constitution to eliminate the article that allowed the extradition of Colombians to North America.


Escobar was credited with a fortune of approximately $30 billion, his cartel was responsible for 80% of the world’s cocaine trafficking and had an annual gross revenue of more than $21 billion. He was on the Forbes list for 7 years and ranked 7th on the world’s richest list.

El Chapo Guzman had a fortune estimated at more than $1 billion, his cartel, unlike Escobar’s, controlled only 25 percent of the world’s drug trade and its annual revenue is estimated at approximately $3 billion. He was also on the Forbes list in the position 1153 and ranked number 10 on the list of the richest in Mexico.

It should be noted that, although the Medellín Cartel made more money than the Sinaloa Cartel, the latter had a better and larger organization, with interests throughout the world.

Prison Break

Here, without a doubt, all the credit goes to El Chapo Guzmán, also known as “El Señor de los Túneles” (The Lord of the Tunnels), since this was his best weapon both to escape from the authorities with different houses connected to each other and to transport the drugs across the border into the United States.

El Chapo managed to escape twice from maximum security prisons, always using the tool of bribery, but with an imaginative level that went beyond the norm.

Escobar, on the other hand, managed to escape from prison once, but more than a prison, it was considered a vacation hotel that he built with all kind of luxuries.


Pablo Escobar, being conservative, is blamed for a total of 4,000 direct deaths, although some say that figure may rise to 10,000. Escobar terrorized the streets of Medellín. He put a price on the heads of police and military personnel, exploded car bombs in public establishments, even gave himself the luxury of placing a bomb on a commercial flight of the Avianca company where more than 100 people died.

He is also responsible for the death of former justice minister Rodrigo Lara Bonilla and former presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán.

Guzmán, for his part, never declared war on the state, he simply limited himself to carrying out his business by imposing a regime of corruption and terror. Between 2000 and 3000 murders are attributed to him.