Capital: € 12 billion
Age: 63
Born: 04/04/1957
Country of origin: Mexico
Source of wealth: Entrepreneurs
Last updated: 2022

Short introduction

El Chapo, whose real name is Joaquín Guzmán Loera, was one of the most powerful and notorious drug lords in Latin America. As head of the Sinaloa cartel, he was one of the most wanted criminals on the American continent. After he managed to escape captivity in 2001 and 2015, he was caught again in 2016 and delivered to the United States a year later. In July 2019, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Early life

El Chapo was born on the farm La Tuna in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. He left school after the third grade and made a living by selling oranges. In 1972 he entered the drug business. He initially worked as a follower of the two notorious drug bosses Amado Carrillo Fuentes and Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo. At that time, he stood out for successfully coordinating cocaine flights from Colombia.


His criminal career in the Sinaloa cartel began in the early 1980s. Thanks to his knowledge of the transport and smuggling of cocaine, El Chapo was able to establish himself as the logistics manager of the cartel. Through entrepreneurial skill coupled with a ruthless approach that did not scare him away from murder, El Chapo managed to work his way up the cartel. Under his leadership, the Sinaloa cartel began digging tunnels below the Mexico-US border to make it easier for the drugs to be smuggled past the authorities.

In the bitter dispute with the rival Tijuana cartel, there were repeated murder attacks on both sides. To counter the attacks, El Chapo never stayed in the same place for more than a few days. Still, on May 24, 1993, he nearly died in an attack that cost the lives of seven other people instead. In the same year, El Chapo went online to the Mexican authorities for the first time.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison. However, this did not detract from his criminal career. From the prison cell, he continued to run his drug business and established himself as head of the Sinaloa cartel in the late 1990s at the latest. In 2001, he finally escaped from prison by hiding in a laundry cart. Some sources claim that he made an agreement with the then President of Mexico, which made his escape possible. From then on, he hid in the state of Sinaloa, protected by the heavily armed troops of his cartel.

Career highlights

In the following years, El Chapo finally rose to become one of the most powerful drug bosses in the world. In addition to smuggling cocaine, the Sinaloa cartel also captured large portions of the heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana market. As a result, El Chapo’s money and influence increased considerably. In 2009 Forbes put him in 41st place among the most powerful people in the world. In 2012 his fortune was estimated at around 850 million euros.

In February 2014, he was arrested again as part of a joint operation by the Mexican military and the United States anti-drug agency. A year later, however, El Chapo managed to escape again in a spectacular way. This was made possible by a 1.5 kilometer long tunnel that had been dug into the shower in his prison cell. After his outbreak, he was placed at the top of the most wanted criminals in the United States. A few months after his escape, he was interviewed by actor Sean Penn for the music magazine Rolling Stone.

However, his life in freedom should not be long and he was caught again in January 2016. In 2017, Mexico extradited him to the United States, where he was tried a year later. As part of this process, the financial situation of the drug baron was also examined in more detail. The current sum of 12 billion euros was mentioned. However, due to the confused nature of the drug business, it is difficult to make precise statements about his assets. On July 17, 2019, El Chapo was finally found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Famous quotes

“It doesn’t matter how many times you feel trapped. There is always a way out. Never give up.”

“I may not be the President of Mexico, but I’m the boss in Mexico.”

“If you take care of me, I will take care of you. If you cheat on me, I’ll kill you. ”

Amazing facts

– Guzman’s nickname El Chapo means “the short one” in German and refers to his small size.
– From 2009 to 2013 he was included in the Forbes ranking of the most powerful people in the world. His rankings were 41, 60, 55 and 67.
– According to the US anti-drug agency, his influence was comparable to that of Pablo Escobar, the head of the Medellín cartel.
– In 2013, El Chapo was officially declared the number one enemy of the United States.
– He smuggled more drugs into the United States than any other drug lord. (over 500 tons)


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