"El Chapo", one of the biggest drug barons, risks life imprisonment


Mexico City – He was the world's most powerful drug lord, but he faces life imprisonment in the United States: a few days before his sentence in New York, Joaquin Guzman says Chapo "is only a shadow of himself.

Since his extradition to the United States on January 19, 2017, "El Chapo"-"The Courtaud", a nickname due to his small size, about 1.60 m– lost his aura: isolated in his cell 23 hours a day, after two escapes in Mexico, he can only see his lawyers and binoculars of seven years Even his wife is forbidden to visit.

After three months of trials that documented extreme violence and cartel corruption, Joaquin Guzman, 62, was convicted in February of 10 charges, including co-leading for 25 years the powerful Sinaloa cartel, responsible for exporting hundreds of tons of cocaine and other drugs to the United States.

He should be sentenced on Wednesday and should, unless surprised, be sentenced to life imprisonment.

– Seller of oranges –

The downfall is tough for the one who led 25 years in one of the most powerful cartels on the planet, a former hero of narco culture and "narcocorridos", these Mexican ballads with guitars and trumpets that tell the leaders of cartels.

His wild escapes fueled his legend and earned him international notoriety until his arrest in 2016 that ended decades of stalking by the authorities.

Joaquin Guzman is one of those narcotics traffickers born on April 4, 1957 to a poor family in a village in the mountains of Sinaloa, northwestern Mexico, he works from childhood selling oranges, caramels and soft drinks.

As he tells the actor Sean Penn during an interview in October 2015 supposed to remain secret but which will contribute to his arrest, he starts, teenager, to cultivate marijuana and poppy, for lack of alternatives.

"The only way to get money, to buy food, to survive, was to grow the opium poppy, marijuana, so at that age I started to grow and sell it.", he confided to the American actor.

He will be recruited by the chief of the cartel of Guadalajara Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, nicknamed "the Godfather"Modern Mexican cartels.

After the arrest of Gallardo in 1989, Guzman founded with three partners the cartel of Sinaloa, which he will in a few years an empire with European and Asian ramifications.

"I provide more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anyone in the world. I have fleets of submarines, planes, trucks and boats", he boasted in the interview to Sean Penn, published in Rolling Stone magazine.

The fortune amassed by the cartel earned him a time on the list of Forbes magazine of the richest men in the world, before coming out in 2013 because of the expenses necessary for its protection.

– Ingenious Escapes –

While fueling an image of Robin Hood helping the poor and ridiculing the powerful, El Chapo also waged an ultra-violent struggle against rivals, a war between cartels that still ravage Mexico today.

A shooting in 1993 at the Guadalajara airport killed Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo, whom killers had confused with El Chapo.

A month later, the cartel leader is arrested in Guatemala. Detained in a Mexican high security prison, he bribes his guards and escapes in 2001, hidden in a dirty laundry bin.

The Mexican authorities will take thirteen years to catch up, in February 2014, in the seaside resort of Mazatlan, where he was hiding with his wife Emma Coronel, a beauty queen of 32 years his youngest, and their binoculars, born in the United States .

In July 2015, rebelote: Guzman escapes through a 1.5-kilometer tunnel opening in the shower of his cell and equipped with rails, illustrating the ingenuity of his men and inflicting a serious camouflage to the Mexican authorities.

This new run will be brief: he was arrested in January 2016 in Los Mochis, on the Pacific coast, in his stronghold of Sinaloa.

It is by intercepting messages addressed to the American-Mexican actress Kate del Castillo that the authorities would have found it. The actress, who played a cartel leader in the series "The South Queen", accompanied Sean Penn for the 2015 interview.

Before marrying Emma Coronel, Joaquin Guzman had already been married at least twice.

In addition to his twins, he has other children, including at least two sons whom the US authorities have accused of playing a role.importantin his cartel Another son, Edgar, was shot dead in 2008.


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