21 Things You Might Not Know About El Chapo
His real name is Joaquín Guzmán Loera, but he is known to the world as El Chapo. From his Mexican villas, he ran the biggest drug operation in the world. As the head of the Sinaloa Drug Cartel, El Chapo amassed unmatched wealth and power.
Guzman’s story is widely known to the public. The most recent version of his life story is featured on Netflix’s TV series “El Chapo.”
While there seems to be no shortage of information about El Chapo, there are a few things that might not be known to all. Who was El Chapo as a person? What was he like?
Here are 21 things you may not have known about El Chapo.
1. How he got his nickname
The phrase “El Chapo” is a slang term similar to “shorty.” With Guzman, it was used to describe his short stature, standing at only 5’6″ tall. This physical attribute became an advantage when he escaped prison, crawling into a small hole under his cell’s shower.
2. He’s a real-life Robin Hood
Despite being a criminal, Guzman has the empathy and support of people from his town. Locals were reported as saying that Guzman has given the people money and jobs, which was more than what the Mexican government has done.
3. He escaped prison twice
Guzman first escaped Puente Grande prison in Jalisco, Mexico, with 78 people cited as conspirators. He was recaptured in 2014 but escaped again in 2015, this time through a tunnel dug under his cell’s shower room.
4. His birthday is unclear
There are two conflicting dates reported as Guzman’s birthday. One report says he was born on December 25, 1954, and another that says April 4, 1957.
5. He did not finish grade school
El Chapo is reportedly semi-illiterate. His highest educational attainment is the third grade.
6. He gave an interview with Sean Penn
While on the run, Guzman met Hollywood actor Sean Penn. Penn interviewed the Mexican kingpin and it was published in Rolling Stone magazine. Guzman was quoted as saying, “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana than anybody else in the world.”
7. He married four times
El Chapo is said to have married four times. The latest one happened in 2007 when he married Emma Coronel Aispuro, a former beauty queen.
8. He was on the Forbes Billionaires list
In 2009, Guzman made it to the Forbes Billionaires list. He ranked 701 with an estimated wealth of $1 billion. In Mexico, he was the 10th richest man in the country.
9. He has fathered 13 children
Guzman’s Wikipedia page currently lists 13 children. Some of his children from his first marriage are also involved in the drug trade. One of his sons, Edgar, was shot and killed in a gunfight near Culiacan, Mexico.
10. He initially kidnapped his third wife
In 1977, a bank clerk from Nayarit by the name of Estela Peña caught Guzman’s eye. He captured her by force and had sexual relations with her. They eventually married shortly after.
11. He doesn’t speak English
He is reported to have used translators in all of his court proceedings in the United States. It is known that El Chapo did not fully complete grade school, and entered the drug trade at an early age.
12. He was Chicago’s modern-day Al Capone
Bringing in over 4,000 pounds of cocaine in Chicago every month, Guzman was given the title “Public Enemy No. 1,” second to Al Capone. There was no evidence, however, that El Chapo was ever in Chicago.
13. He had a lover in jail
Guzman met Zulema Hernandez in jail. She was imprisoned for aiding drug traffickers. Guzman and Hernandez were said to have a romantic relationship while in prison. A rival gang killed Hernandez after her release.
14. The United States Treasury calls him the “most powerful drug trafficker in the world”
As the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, Guzman has moved illegal drugs in the US more than any other drug lord. He is reported to have brought 500,000 tons of cocaine in the United States using a fleet of vehicles that include jets, boats, and submarines.
15. He started his own marijuana plantation at 15 years old
Guzman’s father mismanaged the money he made from growing and selling marijuana, so Guzman took it upon himself to start his own marijuana trade. Along with his younger brothers, Guzman sold marijuana and became the family’s breadwinner.
16. He uses Twitter to threaten enemies
Guzman has maintained a Twitter account and has over 500,000 followers. Guzman has recently tweeted his disapproval of US President Trump. Trump has also replied to a few of his tweets.
17. He disguised drugs as chili peppers
Of the many creative ways Guzman used to smuggle drugs, the most interesting is probably packaging them in chili pepper cans. A sample of the exact can used was entered into evidence for his ongoing trial.
18. There are ballads written about him
Guzman, revered by his fellow townsmen, is the subject of many “drug ballads” called narcocorridos in Spanish. The is more proof that he is considered to be a town hero worthy of admiration. The ballads openly express support for the drug kingpin, especially when he is recaptured by authorities.
19. He escaped an assassination attempt
Assassins wrongly identified Guzman in a car in Guadalajara airport. Thinking Guzman was in the vehicle, the assassins fired shots at the vehicle. Guzman, however, was nowhere near the area. Six people were killed in the shooting, one of them was the car’s passenger, Cardinal and Archbishop of Guadalajara Juan Jesús Posadas, who was said to be mistaken as Guzman.
20. He has his own shipping line
To ensure total autonomy in his drug smuggling trade, Guzman built a shipping empire. He uses the business to transport drugs without having to deal with third-party shippers. A recent report claimed that he used 747 jets and submarines to move drugs from Mexico to the US.
21. He used a catapult to “deliver” marijuana to the US
A DEA official revealed that one of Guzman’s smuggling technique was a simple catapult. They would load bales of marijuana on it and “throw it” over the Arizona-Mexico border.
At this point, Guzman is awaiting trial in a United States court. He has pleaded not guilty to all 17 charges that include drug smuggling, murder, and money laundering. Guzman was arrested in 2016 in Los Mochis, Mexico. If found guilty, El Chapo faces life in prison.