Drug Lord El Chapo
Research Paper will be 5 to 7 pages of content, double space, Times New Roman 12 Font, with
sources cited, and Bibliography. A hard copy will be given to me on the assigned date and
uploaded into the Blackboard. You will also be responsible for a short presentation on your paper.
You can do a PowerPoint if you so desire or you can just talk about your topic.
Drug Lord El Chapo
This paper describes the early career and upbringing of the drug lord El Chapo. It also explains
the criminal activities that he was involved in as well as his arrests. EL Chapo is known to be one
of the world’s largest drug kingpins and his drug empire made him billions of money. In Mexico,
he is considered the 10 th wealthiest man and on a worldwide level he holds the 1140 th position. El
Chapo grew up in dire poverty and this was a source of motivation to ensure that he did not
experience such poverty at all costs in his life. Covered in the paper are the arrests before his
final arrest in 2016 which include an arrest in 1993 and another in 2014. Ahmed (2016) explains
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that he managed to escape an extremely secure prison which was the reason he was arrested
severally due to a number of escapes. El Chapo’s charges, sentencing and drug activities are also
explained in this paper.
Keywords: Guzman, drug, arrest
Drug Lord El Chapo
The drug lord El Chapo, whose full name is Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera is of
Mexican descent. He was the previous leader of the Sinaloa Cartel and his final capture was in
2016 when he was arrested in Mexico. Gabatt (2019) explains that he was found guilty of being
involved in the drug trade. In 2017, he was extradited to the Unites States for trial and his trial
which was in New York lasted three months. This paper focuses on Guzman’s upbringing, early
career, criminal life, arrests and influence.
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Upbringing and Early Career
Guzman grew up in rural Mexico in poverty in the community known as La
Tuna, Badiraguato which is in Sinaloa. Through generations, his family lived in this community
and he was born on 4 th April, 1957. His father’s official work was cattle ranching and he had two
sisters and four younger brothers. Growing up in poverty, he was exposed to a variety of societal
challenges that triggered him to do unlawful acts (Rockefeller, 2015). Problems due to poverty
such as being forced to sell oranges and dropping out of school at the third grade had a great
impact on him. Although his father was a cattle rancher, according to some sources, his father
worked in the drug trade as well farming opium poppy. Consequently, his father greatly
influenced his choice to join the drug trade because at a young age he joined his father selling
marijuana in exchange for money.
His father was also abusive and beat him regularly which made him run away from his
parent’s home to his grandmother’s home to avoid the severe punishment. However, his mother
was emotionally supportive but this kind of environment was still not appropriate for a child to
grow up in. In his late twenties, he got the nickname ‘El Chapo’ which meant ‘shorty’ because of
his height of 5’6”. In his early career, he began working with drug dealers such as Hector Luiz
Palme Salazar in the transportation of drugs. He would also supervise shipments for most of the
drug lords from Sinaloa and other areas in the Western side of Mexico to the United States and
other cities. However, at this time he maintained a low profile and was not famously known.
With time, he became popular in the drug trade and was even accused of drug trafficking
in Mexico and the neighbouring locations thus this popularity was of the negative kind. He was
known to be very ambitious and regularly asked his superiors for an increased amount of
narcotics to be smuggled across the border. It was also known that he was violent in nature
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because he would kill the smuggler whenever any of his shipments arrived late as a punishment.
Felix Gallardo, one of the large Mexican drug lords for whom Guzman worked for, put him in
charge of logistics. Guzman worked as a chauffeur for him when he was given this
responsibility. Through sea, land or air, Guzman would manage shipments from Colombia to
Mexico. During his early career, Guzman was imprisoned for crimes he committed but was let
out because he had many connections (Rockefeller, 2015). Due to his upbringing, he worked
hard to free himself of poverty at all costs.
Criminal Activities and Arrests
In Mexico, Guzman took second place as the most influential individual after Carlos Slim
(Rockefeller, 2015). His influence is believed to be larger than Pablo Escobar’s influence and his
net worth is US$1 billion. In 1993, he was captured and imprisoned for a period of 20 years but
he managed to escape prison in 2001. This was his first arrest and he was imprisoned on the
grounds of drug trafficking and assassination. This escape led to him being wanted by the
Mexican government, the United States and the International Police. At the time of this arrest,
his drug empire had risen to become the largest and wealthiest empire in Mexico. It was also
very powerful so operations continued when he was in prison. His brother was left in charge
during this period who was referred to as ‘El Pollo’. His drug cartel would smuggle large
amounts of cocaine from Mexico to the United States and would also produce other drugs such
as methamphetamine and marijuana from the Southeastern part of Asia. It would also produce
and distribute heroin which would be smuggled through borders.
Rewards for information that would aid in his capture after his escape included US$5
million from the United States and 60 million pesos from the Mexican government (Rockefeller,
2015). In 2014, the Mexican government managed to arrest him once again on drug charges.
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However, he escaped through a tunnel on a motorcycle (Consumer News and Business Channel,
2019). His charges this time included kidnapping, money laundering and murder and he was
charged in a number of states such as New York and Miami (Rockefeller, 2016). Before his 2014
capture, Guzman had been accused of commanding 12 murder attempts and murders. These
included the killings of military personnel, law enforcement agents in Mexico and heads of his
rival drug cartels.
On July 2014, he was accused of organizing a hunger strike in the prison which lasted 5
days. This hunger strike was said to be organized by Guzman and Edgar Villareal who was also a
drug lord. 1000 prisoners took part in the hunger strike and their grievances included the poor
conditions of hygiene in the prison, the food they were given and the medical treatment the
prison availed to them. By this time, Guzman had also made a network of corrupt officials who
enabled him to ship drugs successfully (Rockefeller, 2016). These officials were involved in
supervising these drug shipments. Therefore, he was successfully able to ship drugs to and from
the United States despite the efforts of the United States government in ending drug trafficking.
In 2016, Guzman was captured once again after his previous escape (Consumer News
and Business Channel, 2019). It is said that he was already planning yet another escape at this
time. Ahmed (2016) explains that he was recaptured after a gun battle near Sinaloa. His arrest
marked the end of one of the largest manhunts there has ever been. Mexico’s military, the
marines, are the ones who were successful in capturing him. In 2019, Guzman was found guilty
in trial in the United States at 61 years of age. Aside from drug trafficking counts, which were
ten in number, he was also found guilty of killings and political payoffs that amounted to
millions of dollars.
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Gabatt (2019) explains that it is possible that Guzman will spend the remainder of his life
in jail because he is expected to receive a life sentence without parole. His sentencing is set to be
on 25 th June and he is reported to have trafficked drugs into the United States for a period longer
than 20 years. This was done through tanker trucks and tunnels that were hidden. Yearly, the
cocaine shipments his cartel would ship were worth $500 million which amounted to 25 to 30
tons (Consumer News and Business Channel, 2019). Six days were spent weighing charges
against him and the case only lasted half an hour. The trial showed the determination of the
United States government in capturing drug lords as large in influence as Guzman.
Ahmed, A. (2016). El Chapo, Escaped Mexican Drug Lord, Is Recaptured in Gun Battle. The
New York Times.
Consumer News and Business Channel (2019). Mexican drug lord ‘El Chapo’ found guilty in US
trial over drug-trafficking charges.
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Gabatt, A. (2019). El Chapo trial: Mexican drug cartel boss found guilty. The Guardian.
Rockefeller, J.D. (2016). The Arrest of the Godfather of the Drug World: Drug Kingpin ‘El
Rockefeller, J.D. (2015). El Chapo Guzman: Colombia’s Hero or Villain? History of the
Greatest Drug Lord.