UPDATE: JULY 12, 2015: EL CHAPO ESCAPED FROM MAXIMUM SECURITY USING A HOLE DUG UNDERNEATH THE SHOWERS. THE TUNNEL STRETCHED ALMOST A MILE IN LENGTH.
The Mexican cartel is a widely-feared organization. Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, “El Padrino”, a former Mexican Judicial Federal Police agent, is said to be the godfather of the Mexican drug trade, which quickly took off in the 80s. El Chapo entered the drug trade at an extremely early age, selling marijuana and opium poppy to survive. In the 70s, El Chapo began working for Héctor Luis Palma Salazar, the then-head of the Guadalajara Cartel. El Chapo rose amongst the ranks, became known as a ruthless pragmatist and savvy businessman. He, along with Palma and a drug trafficker named Ismael Zambada García, formed the Sinaloa cartel, and has grown since into a billion-dollar organization. El Chapo was arrested on February 22, 2014, after 13 years on the run.
1. No one is sure of his birthdate — or birth year for that matter. It’s said he was born on December 25, 1954, or April 4, 1957. No one can agree on it.
2. Forbes had included El Chapo in the ranks of the world’s most richest – their billionaires list, but they dropped him, citing, his money was sketchy.
4. When El Chapo was arrested in 1993, the prison system essentially became his palace, the guards, his paid servants. He then escaped in 2001 in a laundry cart with the help of a prison guard. The entire plan set him back $2.5 million.
6. People are sympathetic to El Chapo. The area his cartel controlled makes most of their income through the drug trade. El Chapo also pumped money into the economy, taking care of infrastructure and helping the poor.
8. El Chapo received the honor of becoming Public Enemy No. 1 in part due to the Sinaloa cartel being the main supplier of drugs into Chicago.
9. A nonaggression pact was agreed upon by the major drug cartels, but after El Chapo successfully assassinated Rodolfo Carrillo Fuentes, the head of the Juarez cartel, it set the stage for all cartels jostling for power and control, which is the current Mexican Drug War.
10. A hit was ordered on El Chapo in 1993. Assassins found his car — at least assumed it was his car — at Guadalajara airport and fired rounds from assault rifles into the vehicle. El Chapo was actually elsewhere, in a green sedan, just a short distance away. Cardinal and Archbishop of Guadalajara Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo and six other people were killed in the attack, which drew worldwide coverage and turned El Chapo into a household name.
12. There are stories like this that say El Chapo entered a restaurant, confiscated mobile devices, ordered patrons to be quiet, had his meal and paid for everyone’s for the inconvenience. While people may marvel at his gracious actions, authorities are quick to say that he was just asserting his authority, signifying that he, El Chapo, was still alive and in charge of his operation.
13. El Chapo’s family members are deep within the drug trade, which consequently led to many of his loved ones to be murdered. His brother, Arturo, was killed in prison. His son, Edgar, assassinated. His girlfriend, Zulema Hernandez, strangled and found in the trunk of a car. His nephew, Obied Cano Zepeda, was gunned down at a party.
14. To assist his drug smuggling empire, El Chapo created a trade and shipping empire. This meant that he kept the drug trafficking business under his operation, instead of using third-parties.
15. There was a $5 million reward for El Chapo. He was arrested on February 22, 2014 around 6:40am at a beachside hotel. His identity was confirmed and he was flown to Mexico City, where he was transferred to the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1.