El Chapo

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Joaquín Guzmán alias "El Chapo" (2017)

El Chapo ( Spanish for The Little One ), bourgeois Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera (born April 4, 1957 in La Tuna , Municipio Badiraguato , Sinaloa ), was the former supreme head of the Sinaloa cartel , a Mexican drug cartel . He was one of the most wanted drug lords in Mexico and the United States . El Chapo managed to escape Mexican maximum security prisons in 2001 and 2015. On January 8, 2016, he was arrested again by Mexican investigators six months after his second escape. The states of California and Texas filed extradition requests , each on drug trafficking and murder charges . On January 19, 2017, the last day in office of US President Barack Obama , El Chapo was extradited to the United States by flight to Long Island in New York . He is incarcerated in the ADX Florence Federal Prison.


Youth and advancement

El Chapo was born on a farm and has six siblings. His father was a rancher. El Chapo dropped out of school after the third grade and became a follower of Amado Carrillo Fuentes (founder of the Juárez cartel ) and Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (drug lord and co-founder of the Guadalajara cartel ) in the 1970s . His job was to coordinate cocaine flights from Colombia .

In the early 1980s he established himself as the head of logistics in the Sinaloa cartel. He has been running the cartel together with Ismael Zambada García since the late 1990s at the latest . On May 24, 1993, contract killers from an opposing cartel carried out an attack on El Chapo, killing seven people, including Archbishop Juan Jesús Cardinal Posadas Ocampo .

First arrest and escape

He was arrested in Guatemala on June 9, 1993, extradited to Mexico and sentenced to 20 years and nine months in prison. On January 19, 2001, he managed to escape from the maximum security prison Puente Grande in Jalisco state . A guard opened his cell door and El Chapo left the premises in a laundry truck.

Other sources, however, claim that El Chapo made a deal with then-Mexican President Vicente Fox . Vicente Fox, who was in financial straits at the time, is said to have received US $ 20 million  from El Chapo for his freedom. According to Don Winslow , who portrayed El Chapo as the boss in his novel The Cartel in 2015 , there are witnesses who alleged that he simply walked out of prison.


El Chapo (Mexican expression for "the little one", because of his height of 1.68 meters) was ranked 41st on the list of the most powerful people in the world by Forbes magazine in 2009 , and in 2012 he was 63rd. El Chapo was worth roughly $ 1 billion in 2012. Information leading to his arrest was offered a reward of seven million US dollars (as of 2011).

Second arrest and escape

On February 22, 2014, El Chapo was arrested in the Mexican coastal city of Mazatlán in a joint operation by Mexican marines and the US anti-drug agency DEA . A few days later, several thousand people demonstrated in Sinaloa for his release.

On the evening of July 11, 2015, he escaped again from the Mexican maximum security prison Altiplano through a 1.5 kilometer long, 1.7 meter high and 80 centimeter wide tunnel, the end of which was in the shower of El Chapo's cell. This part of the cell was only partially covered by surveillance cameras, so that El Chapo had the opportunity to disappear unseen into a 50 × 50 cm hole in the floor. He was a fugitive until 2016 and was declared public enemy number 1 again after the outbreak in the USA .

While trying to arrest near Cosalá in October 2015 , El Chapo was apparently injured in the face and leg. However, he and his bodyguards were able to escape the security forces.

Third arrest

El Chapo in custody (January 2017)

After almost half a year on the run, El Chapo was caught again by marines on January 8, 2016 in Los Mochis . Five people were killed and one soldier was injured. After the arrest, there was speculation in the press about whether an exclusive interview that actor Sean Penn conducted with the drug lord for the American music magazine Rolling Stone in October 2015 was the trigger for the arrest due to the text messages intercepted on that occasion . Was also involved in the Mexican telenovela - Star Kate del Castillo , who played a role in the mediation, as El Chapo is a follower of the actress and was eager to meet.

On the night of August 15-16, 2016, several gunmen abducted El Chapo's son, Jesús Alfredo Guzmán, and five other people from a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta . According to the Attorney General of the State of Jalisco , Eduardo Almaguer , were among the hijackers to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

El Chapo was officially extradited to the United States on January 19, 2017. The Mexican judge, who had ordered the extradition a few months earlier, was killed as a result in October 2016.

As El Chapo's successor in the leadership of the Sinaloa cartel, Dámaso López Núñez, known as El Licenciado , established himself in a power struggle in 2016/17 , a longtime companion and advisor to El Chapo, who was captured by the Mexican military in May 2017. Some security experts suspect that he was behind the abduction of El Chapo's sons in August 2016 and that he allied himself with the CJNG to oppose the Guzmán family's camp, which did not accept him. The cartel between supporters and opponents of the El Chapos family has been said to have been split since 2015.


The trial of El Chapo ( United States of America v. Joaquín Guzmán Loera ) began in the Brooklyn District Court on November 5, 2018 . The twelve jurors required for this should remain anonymous for security reasons. First around 40 potential jury members should be interviewed. The opening speeches took place on November 13th. Prosecutors accused El Chapo of making billions of dollars in drug smuggling and other illegal businesses. About a dozen prosecutors in New York City were handling the case. On February 12, 2019, he was found guilty of all charges, including drug trafficking , human trafficking , the abuse of weapons for drug-related crime, and participation in a money laundering conspiracy , and sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole plus an additional 30 years on July 17, 2019 because one of the judgment points, the continued criminal enterprise activity ("engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise"), is sanctioned with a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of later suspension on probation.


El Chapo is fourth married to Emma Coronel Aispuro, with whom he has twins.

Movie and TV


  • Sandro Benini: Drugs, War, Mexico. The most dangerous place in the world. Real time , Basel 2013, ISBN 978-3-905800-68-5 .
  • Malcolm Beith: El Chapo: The Hunt for Mexico's Most Powerful Drug Baron. (Original title: The Last Narco translated by Simone Salitter and Gunter Blank), Heyne , Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-453-26731-2 .
  • Andrew Hogan, Douglas Century: The Hunt for El Chapo. (Original title: Hunting El Chapo translated by Rita Koppers), HarperCollins, April 2018, ISBN 978-3-95967-179-8 .

Web links

Commons : El Chapo  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Biografía de Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán historia-biografia.com, accessed on February 12, 2019 (Spanish).
  2. US Department of State: Narcotics Rewards Program: Joaquin Guzman-Loera. Archived from the original on June 27, 2011 ; accessed on December 21, 2009 .
  3. ^ A b Sandra Weis: Most Wanted Drug Bosses in Mexico and the United States arrested. In: The Standard . July 13, 2015, accessed February 22, 2014 .
  4. GUZMAN-LOERA, JOAQUIN. In: interpol.int . Archived from the original on October 17, 2015 ; accessed on October 17, 2015 .
  5. Guzman's lawyers “surprised” In: ORF , January 20, 2017, accessed January 20, 2017.
  6. Inmate Locator. Federal Bureau of Prisons, accessed July 28, 2020 .
  7. a b c d e Toni Keppeler, Cecibel Romero: Cool, clever and agile. In: the daily newspaper . August 29, 2012, accessed February 22, 2014 .
  8. a b Patrick Radden Keefe: The hunt for "El Chapo" Guzman . In: GEO 9/2014. Gruner & Jahr, Hamburg, ISSN  0342-8311 , pp. 123-124.
  9. a b Army arrests leader of drug cartel. In: Spiegel Online . December 26, 2011, accessed February 22, 2014 .
  10. Anabel Hernández , Roberto Saviano : Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords And Their Godfathers . Translated by Iain Bruce. Verso, London / New York, 2013, ISBN 978-1-78168-073-5 (English).
  11. Lars Reichardt: Don Winslow on violence. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , May 30, 2015, p. 38 (interview).
  12. Great power to drugs. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . May 17, 2010, accessed July 13, 2015 .
  13. Jump up Ray Sanchez, Evan Perez, Elise Labott: After years on run, Sinaloa cartel chief 'El Chapo' Guzman arrested. In: CNN . February 23, 2014, accessed March 2, 2014 .
  14. Klaus Ehringfeld: Why a mass murderer is revered as a benefactor. In: Spiegel Online . March 2, 2014, accessed March 2, 2014 .
  15. Sebastian Schoepp: Off through the flap. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . July 13, 2015, accessed July 13, 2015 .
  16. "El Chapo" injured but not captured. Tagesschau , accessed on October 17, 2015 .
  17. Recaptura Marina a 'El Chapo' Guzmán en Los Mochis, Sinaloa. lasillarota.com, January 7, 2016, accessed January 7, 2016 .
  18. Drug boss "El Chapo" Guzman captured. In: Spiegel Online . Retrieved January 8, 2016 .
  19. Mexico wants to interrogate actress Kate del Castillo. In: Spiegel Online , January 19, 2016.
  20. Son of drug lord «El Chapo» abducted. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung , August 17, 2016.
  21. Mexico delivers "El Chapo" to the USA. In: Spiegel Online . Retrieved January 20, 2017 .
  22. Felix Hutt, DER SPIEGEL: Drug Bosses El Chapo and Kate del Castillo: Story of an Encounter - DER SPIEGEL - Panorama. Retrieved August 13, 2020 .
  23. Anabel Hernández: The Successor to El Chapo: Dámaso López Núñez. In: InSight Crime , March 13, 2017, quoted by June S. Beittel: Mexico: Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking Organizations (PDF; 1.3 MB). CRS Report 7-5700, p. 10 and Note 39.
  24. Contender for "Chapos" throne goes military into the net. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , May 3, 2017, accessed on June 7, 2019.
  25. Guzmán salutes the judge. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , November 14, 2018.
  26. Trial against "El Chapo" started with jury selection. In: Spiegel Online , November 6, 2018.
  27. Ray Sanchez, Sonia Moghe: Mexican drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman is found guilty on all counts. In: CNN . February 13, 2019, accessed February 13, 2019 .
  28. Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, Sinaloa Cartel Leader, Convicted of Running a Continuing Criminal Enterprise and Other Drug-Related Charges. In: justice.gov . February 6, 2019, accessed February 6, 2019 .
  29. "El Chapo" found guilty. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , February 12, 2019.
  30. Beauty queen Emma Coronel "El Chapo" is not allowed to hug his wife during the trial. In: Berliner Zeitung , November 8, 2018.