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What Happened to The Real-Life Narcos from ‘Narcos: Mexico’?

“Narcos: Mexico” has become one of Netflix’s most popular series because of the entertaining yet mostly true story of drug traffickers and the DEA agents who hunted them. The show gives a picture of some of the bloodiest times in Latin American history and the complicated characters who fought the War on Drugs in the region.

But what happened to the real-life Narcos featured in the show?

Everardo Arturo “Kitty” Paez (Bad Bunny)

Bad Bunny’s character in the show is based on Tijuana Cartel member Everardo Arturo “Kitty” Paez. He was a leader of a group within the Tijuana Cartel called the Narco Juniors, wealthy kids who worked as drug traffickers for fun and money. Because of his role in the group, he upset the bosses of the cartel and had a price put on his head by the Arellano Félix brothers. 

He was ultimately saved from death when he was captured by Mexican authorities and extradited to the United States, revealing the role the Tijuana Cartel played in the 1993 attack on the Guadalajara Airport. Paez was eventually put in witness protection and has not been heard of since. 

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera (Alejandro Edda)

Mexican-American actor Alejandro Edda starred as Mexico’s most notorious drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera. “Narcos: Mexico” shows El Chapo’s rise to power from his humble upbringing as a farmer in rural Sinaloa. While the show ends just as Guzman Loera consolidates his control on the Mexican drug trade from prison, El Chapo is most famous for the dramatic ways that he got out of prison.

After being sentenced to prison for drug trafficking in 1993, El Chapo reportedly escaped a Jalisco prison by hiding himself in a laundry cart in 2001. He remained a fugitive until 2014 when he was captured by Mexican Authorities at a beachfront hotel in Mazatlán, Sinaloa. But he did not remain in prison for too long. El Chapo escaped from Mexico’s highest security prison, La Palma, a little over a year later in July 2015. This time he opted for a tunnel instead of a laundry cart.

After his second escape, he hid in the mountains of Sinaloa and even met with actors Sean Penn and Kate del Castillo while in hiding. But his second time as a fugitive ended when he was captured in Sinaloa during a massive military operation. Then Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto sent him to face trial in the United States, where he would meet the actor that played him in “Narcos: Mexico,” Alejandro Edda. Today he is locked up in ADX Florence in Colorado, famous for being one of the most brutal prisons in the U.S. 

Héctor Luis “El Güero” Palma Salazar (Gorka Lasaosa)

Spanish actor Gorka Lasaosa interpreted the role of another infamous member of the Sinaloa Cartel, Héctor Luis “El Güero” Palma Salazar. El Güero is known for being the most respected Narcos by Sinaloa cartel leader, El Chapo Guzman because he reportedly saved his life various times and came up with unique ways to transport cocaine to the United States, hiding it in canned goods.  

Despite this, the two did not get along when they were both in prison together in Jalisco. According to journalist Jesús Lemus, who served time with the two in Puente Grande prison, Palma would kidnap El Chapo’s escorts and try to take away whatever power El Chapo had in the prison. 

But unlike El Chapo, El Güero stayed in prison, being transferred between prisons in Mexico and the United States. This May, he caused a polemic in Mexico when a Jaliscan judge annulled his conviction of belonging to a criminal organization, setting him free and causing an international embarrassment for President López Obrador. But in July he was sent back to a maximum-security prison in the state of Mexico. 

Los Hermanos Arellano Félix (Manuel Masalva & Alfonso Dosal)

Ramon Arellano Félix, played by Manuel Masalva, and Benjamín Arellano Félix, played by Alfonso Dosal, were two of the leaders of the Tijuana Cartel, one of Mexico’s biggest cartels in the 90s. Along with their other siblings, they ran the trafficking routes out of the northwestern Mexican city of Tijuana to the United States. 

After losing much of their power to the Sinaloa cartel at the end of the 90s, Ramon went down to the resort city of Mazatlán, Sinaloa in 2002 to try to regain control of the trade. Things did not go as planned and Ramón ended up dying in a shootout with Mexican police in the middle of the city’s carnival. 

Benjamín met a different fate than his brother after the DEA discovered that his daughter had a rare medical condition, the Mexican Army found him visiting a specialist in Puebla, Mexico in March 2002. He was subsequently arrested and extradited to the United States where he remains in prison. 

Enedina Arellano Félix de Toledo (Mayra Hermosillo)

Mayra Hermosillo interpreted the role of Enedina Arellano Félix de Toledo, the sister of the Arellano Félix brothers. Throughout Season 3 you can see her calling all the shots in Tijuana Cartel meetings. In the real world, her role within the cartel was not that different from how she is portrayed in “Narcos: Mexico.” 

While her brothers are often perceived as the ones who went to war with the other cartels, Enedina was in charge of money laundering and invested the cartel’s drug money in various businesses, from pharmacies to real estate. But as her brothers have been imprisoned or murdered over the years, she remains free and has reportedly controlled what’s left of the Tijuana cartel since 2008. According to the newspaper El País, she’s not a fan of her featured role in “Narcos” because she doesn’t like the attention it brings. 

Amado Carrillo Fuentes (José María Yazpik)

José María Yazpik is the real star of “Narcos: Mexico” for his role as one of the world’s most notorious drug traffickers, Amado Carrillo Fuentes. Carrillo Fuentes was known as el señor de los cielos (lord of the skies) because of the way that he flew drugs around the continent undetected in his own fleet of planes. Carrillo Fuentes was the head of the Juárez Cartel. He consolidated the cartel’s brutal control of the area around the Texas border and the transportation of cocaine to the United States.  

However, el señor de los cielos met an unexpected end in 1997 when he died while undergoing plastic surgery to evade authorities. The surgeons who conducted the operation were brutally murdered later on, presumably by people seeking vengeance for Carrillo Fuentes’s death. Despite evidence of his death, various conspiracy theories state that Carrillo Fuentes didn’t die but planned the entire operation to fake his death and live out a life in hiding. 

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