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  HOME | Mexico

Sinaloa Cartel Boss Smuggled Drugs from Mexico into U.S. Using Various Means

WASHINGTON – Fugitive Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman used planes, submarines, trains, sailboats and tunnels to smuggle narcotics from Mexico into the United States, court filings show.

The man who became public enemy No. 1 in the United States after the death of terrorist Osama Bin Laden escaped from a Mexican prison a month ago and the Obama administration has repeatedly said it would like to extradite and try the drug lord.

Guzman, who is believed responsible for thousands of deaths, is the subject of a $5 million reward in the United States and has a price of 60 million pesos ($3.8 million) on his head in Mexico.

Documents filed in U.S. federal courts show that the drug lord, who escaped from the Altiplano I federal prison in central Mexico through a 1.5-kilometer (nearly one-mile) tunnel, used subs, sailboats and cross-border tunnels to move narcotics into the United States.

The drug lord had been held at the prison in Mexico state, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area, since his arrest on Feb. 22, 2014.

Guzman faces drug, money laundering and criminal conspiracy charges in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego.

The drug lord’s son, Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar, known as “El Chapito,” and another Sinaloa cartel boss, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, also face charges in the United States.

The Drug Enforcement Administration added Guzman to its most-wanted list on July 16 and the Chicago Crime Commission once again named the drug lord “Public Enemy No. 1,” the dubious honor he had held before being captured last year.

Al Capone had been declared public enemy No. 1 by the Midwestern city in 1930 and no other criminal had been given the dubious distinction since the Prohibition-era gangster.

Guzman, who was born in 1957, got his start in the drug business as a lieutenant of Miguel Angel Felix-Gallardo, the top leader of the Guadalajara cartel, in the 1980s.

Felix-Gallardo’s arrest and prosecution in 1989 led to the Guadalajara cartel being divided up and Guzman relocating to Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, and founding the Sinaloa cartel.

Guzman was eventually captured in 1993 in Guatemala and sent back to Mexico, where he was convicted on bribery charges.

On Jan. 19, 2001, Guzman escaped from the Puente Grande penitentiary in the western state of Jalisco, pulling off the Hollywood-style jailbreak by hiding in a cart full of dirty laundry in front of guards.

The Mexican drug kingpin’s wealth led to his name regularly appearing on Forbes magazine’s list of global billionaires.


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