El Chapo: the Infamous Drug Lord of Sinaloa Cartel

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My topic for senior project is all about one, if not the most famous drug lord ever El Chapo. His life is very interesting because he went from from living in poverty in a small town to not only becoming America’s most dangerous man but being a self made billionaire. El Chapo may be seen to a lot of people as just a person who sells drugs and should be seen as what not to do because you will most likely end up in jail. To many others, he can be seen from a different perspective, as a role model some might say. El Chapo came from literally nothing but gang violence, drug trafficking, and so much more to now where he not only runs a cartel, but is also a self made billionaire. El chapo should be seen by children on how to never give up because things are hard. You have to be able to keep thinking positive and keep going. El Chapo is 62 years old and is married to a 29 year old woman he has 11 children with multiple women. Many will see him as a pervert, sex offender and many more things but what he should really be seen for is still being able to find love even at such an old age. El Chapo is known for his very famous name with being a drug lord but what a lot of people don’t know is El Chapo is actually spanish for “shorty” because of his short height at only 5’5”.

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El Chapo had a rough childhood. He grew up in poverty in a small town in Mexico known as Sinaloa. It was a very rural community. Most people know El Chapo as just that, El Chapo. His legal name is Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán. The small town of Sinaloa, Mexico had a very high amount of gang activity all around it. El Chapo noticed early in his life that all the people who were in the gang around him all looked like they had a lot of money. Coming from a poor family he wanted to have money like they did. So when he saw the right time he created what’s now known as the Sinaloa cartel. He started the Sinaloa cartel in 1989 with his friend Héctor Luis Palma Salazar.

El Chapo had his most recent court case on February 12th, 2019. He had been captured January 8th, 2016. He was captured and arrested by the Mexican Navy because they had reports from citizens of armed people in a house in Los Mochis in northern Sinaloa. (Wikipedia). At the court case he was found guilty of all 10 felony charges. These charges included narcotic trafficking, using a firearm, participating in a money laundering conspiracy, plus more. He had no chance of “winning” his trial and being not guilty as everyone should have known. The court had so much evidence against him such as they could prove he was the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, also of transporting or trafficking drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin into the United States. Along with this prison sentence everyone is going to think “how is El Chapo going to escape again?”. He has escaped prison both times he has been captured. His most recent escape was with his wife, she came in to “visit” the famous drug lord and helped him escape. El Chapo got naked and with his wife went through the sewer and escaped on the other end. This jail sentence might be different though, both prisons he has already escaped from were both placed somewhere in Mexico. This time they have sentenced him to life in a supermax prison is Florence, Colorado. This prison holds others such as Terry L. Nichols and Theodore J. Kaczynski.

Terry L Nichols was an American domestic terrorist who was convicted of being an accomplice in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Terry Nichols had over 300 charges of first degree murder from 1995 to 2004. Terry also set a new record with 161 lifetime sentences without option of parole Theodore Kaczynski also known as the Unabomber was a professor and has a PHD from harvard. He was involved in a bombing that had 3 killed and 23 injured. The court sentenced him to spend 8 life sentences without the option of parole.

El Chapo is a very elusive individual. No one prison has been able to keep him in custody, no one really realizes how many people he has on the outside to help him escape. Because of his prison escape with his wife it is easy to safely say they will most likely not let his wife visit. If they do decide to let his wife visit they will definitely have security watching over them and listening to their conversation. The first prison El Chapo ever escaped was known as Puente Grande prison in 2001. He did it with the aid of his father, brother, and the cartel co-leader Ismail Zambada Garcia. Their escape plan consisted of sending a helicopter to go pick up El Chapo in a semi-deserted area. In the first escape El Chapo and his family paid the mexico city police 300 thousand per month so they would look the other way when it came to the drug operations that they were running. El Chapo escaped prison for the second time in 2015 when he escaped a maximum security prison. He escaped by a tunnel that was found in his shower area of his cell. The tunnel had an opening of 2 feet where they believe El Chapo was able to escape. The Mexican police found the opening in El Chapo’s cell at 8:52 p.m., there was roughly a 50 minute period between when the cell guard had given El Chapo his daily medicine and when they saw the tunnel. According to ABC news “ they believed a ladder led to a tunnel that Rubido said was made out of PVC pipe that was just about as tall as Guzman himself, roughly 5-foot-6.”. The tunnel they found was roughly a mile underground and had a motorcycle that was connected to rails on the sides of the tunnel for a faster escape.

El Chapo ran his gang in a variety of ways especially with how he transported his “products”. According to a book known as “Hunting El Chapo” by Andrew Hogan and Douglas Century who were both DEA agents involved in the capture of El Chapo he had used hollow plastic bananas and filled them with cocaine to transport as secretly as he could. The Sinaloa Cartel according to insight crime “has been described as the largest and most powerful drug trafficking organization in the Western Hemisphere.”. The state of Sinaloa has long been a center for contraband in Mexico, as well as a home for marijuana and poppy cultivation. According to wikipedia “poppy cultivation is used for production of dried latex and opium, the principal precursor of narcotic and analgesic opiates such as morphine, heroin and codeine. 

Poppy seeds are rich in oil, carbohydrates, calcium and protein.”. El Chapo first got introduced to the Sinaloa cartel by his father’s friend Pedro Aviles who was one of the first to traffic marijuana in bulk. The Sinaloa cartel in 1985 after the death of a D.E.A. agent (Enrique Camarena) got into a gang rivalry with the Guadalajara Cartel. Because of the death of agent Camarena the U.S. pressured the Mexican authorities to act on it. Because the information on the government got out the leader of the Guadalajara Cartel fled the country. The other gangs around there stayed and established “bases” in various parts of Mexico. According to Insight crime “El Chapo sent 40 gunmen to raid a Tijuana Cartel party in Puerto Vallarta, killing nine people. The Tijuana Cartel responded by trying to assassinate El Chapo at the Guadalajara airport in 1993, killing a Mexican cardinal instead”. After El Chapo found out about the attempted assassination on him he fled he fled to Guatemala and got arrested two weeks later. 

El Chapo wasn’t seen as the leader of the Sinaloa cartel until 2008 when the Beltran Leyva Organization split off from the Sinaloa cartel. According to Insight crime “El Chapo’s capture and later extradition to the United States appears to have sparked an internal battle for control of the organization, as evidenced by a February 2017 attack against El Mayo and two of El Chapo’s sons that was reportedly orchestrated by El Chapo’s one-time right-hand man, Dámaso López Núñez, alias “Licenciado.””. Because of El Chapo’s most recent arrest that will put him in prison for the rest of his life the cartel is being taken over by El Mayo and his sons Joaquín Guzmán López, Ovidio Guzmán López, Iván Archivaldo and Jesús Alfredo are going to pretty much be running it from now on to continue the cartel and make sure it never falls. The Sinaloa cartel has contact almost everywhere. It stretches from New York city to Buenos Aires (a small section in Argentina). The Sinaloa has contacts in almost every major city in between New York and Buenos Aires. The Sinaloa cartel was founded in a small city in mexico and now has operates in 17 if not more Mexican states…not cities but states. Some data has led us to be able to estimate they operate in as many as 50 different countries. 

The Sinaloa cartel can easily be inferred that they have a very large control of Mexico and other countries just because of the data we have now been able to prove. The Sinaloa cartel’s central bond is blood. Most of them are related through either blood or marriage. The Sinaloa cartel often acts like an organization more than a tightly knit operation. The Sinaloa have established strong connections with Mexico’s higher up people such as their military and policeman. The primary enemy of the Sinaloa cartel is the Jalisco cartel. The Jalisco Cartel has become an enemy because since the death of Ignacio Coronel in 2010 they have began to start trafficking synthetic drugs and powerful opioids such as fentanyl. Synthetic drugs and powerful opioids the Sinaloa cartel is also involved with the drug trafficking of. It appears the SInaloa cartel could reclaim their spot as the most dominant cartel in the near future, but as of right now the Sinaloa cartel and the Jalisco cartel (CJNG) stand as Mexico’s two most dominant organized crime groups.

El Chapo has had a very interesting life. He’s escaped jail twice, became a self-made billionaire, and through all of that has still found the will to keep on going. He should be seen as a inspiration, not because he sells drugs or anything illegal. He should be seen as a guy who kept going when times were hard and never gave up and because of it had a very successful life. He has had a lot of experience with how to run and organized cartel and because of his life sentence from February 2019 he now has to pass his knowledge to his sons. As far as El Chapo as a person, he’s a terrible person but has made a lot out of what he never really had. He fought for everything he has accomplished. 

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