On Saturday, July 11, Mexico’s most notorious drug lord and the CEO of the Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán escaped a high-security prison 50 miles west of Mexico City. This is the second time he’s escaped a prison in Mexico.
The Sinaloa Cartel is credited with bringing up to 25% of all illegal drugs into the United States from Mexico. As video surveillance shows, El Chapo escaped Saturday night through an elaborate and sophisticated underground tunnel constructed under his prison shower, built just for him.
Even in prison, he was still calling shots and planning his escape, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Below are 10 crazy facts about one of the world’s most dangerous man.
In 2009, El Chapo made Forbes list of the World’s Most Powerful People. In the same year, he was also named in Forbes as one of the richest people in the world, with a net worth of $1 billion. He was left off the World’s Billionaires list in 2013 because his fortune could not be verified according to Forbes. Today, he’s considered one of the most powerful drug lords in the world.
El Chapo has managed to escape a maximum-security prison not once, but twice in the past 14 years. The drug lord was behind bars from 1993 until 2001 when he made his first escape. It was rumored that he hid in a laundry basket as he was smuggled out of prison but Univision (parent company of Flama) reported that “Investigators and witnesses assert that Guzman left walking through the main doors with the complicity of numerous public officials.” His 2001 escape cost a reported $2.5 million and it was estimated that up to 78 accomplices helped hatch the breakout.
El Chapo has so many songs, or “narcocorridos,” that have been written in his honor, that Billboard compiled a list of the most loved songs written for and about the mob boss. Among the most popular are Valentin Elizalde’s “A Mis Enemigos” and Los Canelos de Durango’s “El Señor de la Montaña.” It should also be noted that Lupillo Rivera released a song about his latest escape, “El Chapo Una Fuga Más” mere hours after the escape was reported. Singers risk their lives when they create or perform narcocorridos. The Daily News reported that drug cartels get angry when an enemy cartel is praised in a narcocorridos which has lead to the murders of several singers.
El Chapo is said to be ruthless. If one of his people did not perform well or he suspected someone had become a threat, he reportedly had no problem setting them up. “A lot of people got killed. A lot of people got sent to jail,” said Edward Heath, who ran the Mexican Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office in the mid-1980s.
What El Chapo wants, El Chapo gets. In November of 2007, when he was reportedly between the ages of 50 and 52, he married 18-year-old beauty queen Emma Coronel Aispuro. He reportedly helped her win a local beauty pageant in Canelas, Durango where he fell for the young beauty. She is his third or fourth wife, as there are conflicting reports, and the couple have twin girls. Emma was born in California and her twins were born in a hospital near Los Angeles. In other words, El Chapo’s wife and two of his kids have dual citizenship in the U.S. and Mexico.
Rumor has it El Chapo’s time spent behind bars from 1993 to 2001 was more like a stay at the Ritz Carlton than serving hard time in a maximum-security prison. He reportedly had mostly everyone at the prison on his payroll. According to reports, El Chapo partied like it was 1999 in there with frequent female visitors and as much cocaine as he could snort.
El Chapo is now considered Public Enemy No. 1 in Chi-Town. This is the first time the title has been bestowed to someone since Al Capone in 1930. El Chapo and the Sinaloa Cartel earned the title because they are the main supplier of drugs into Chicago, smuggling over 4,000 pounds of cocaine into the city each month.
On May 24, 1993 Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo, a Mexican bishop and cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, was gunned down in a parking lot of Guadalajara International Airport. He was inside a car that received 14 gunshots. Six other people were murdered in the parking lot too. The New Yorker reported that “the gunmen apparently mistook him” for El Chapo. The murder caused an uproar in Mexico and to this day the case has not been solved.
Operation Fast and Furious was one of the ATF’s most controversial gun-trafficking operations and one of their biggest targets was El Chapo and his Sinaloa cartel. The now infamous program had federal agents sell firearms to members of Mexican cartels, hoping the weapons would lead to drug lords so agents could track them and make an arrest. The program wasn’t successful and resulted in almost 2,000 missing firearms, which were found in killing scenes across Mexico.
El Chapo isn’t the only family member in the drug game. Several members of his family also work in “waste management” and have thus met tragic fates. His own son, Edgar, was killed in a hail of bullets at age 22 from 40 gunmen in May 2008, when he was outside a shopping mall in Culiacán, Sinaloa. El Chapo has reportedly fathered nine children with three women.
Somehow and some way, El Chapo escaped Altiplano maximum-security prison, and did it in style. The drug boss fled through a wide tunnel built under his shower that stretched out a mile and led to a safe house. It was air-conditioned and had a motorcycle on rails. El Chapo is known to have escape routes (usually of the tunnel variety) wherever he lives. Now that’s what we call a great escape.