Grace to grass stories are often inspirational. A person beats all the odds in their path and rises to attain fame or achieve something that was considered impossible.
In this way, the story of Joaquin Gozman or El Chapo is a grace to grass story but chances are you do not want it inspiring any of your loved ones.
Joaquin Guzman was nicknamed “El Chapo” for his small stature and he also started out very small in his hometown in Mexico’s northwestern mountains, building his image over the years until he became the most wanted drug lord in the world.
Here we present ten interesting facts about El Chapo, who was on Thursday extradited to the United States from Mexico, putting an end to a decade-long chase by the authorities that has made the man legend.
- Joaquin Guzman was born on April 4, 1957, in Badiraguato, a municipality that is known as the cradle of several drug lords.
- Joaquin Guzman told Sean Penn in a clandestine meeting that he had with the US actor last year that his family was “very humble, very poor” and that his mum made bread in the village of La Tuna.
- In that same meeting, El Chapo revealed that he started out selling oranges, soft drinks and candy when he was a child. He eventually graduated to the more lucrative fields of marijuana and opium poppies at the age of 15 because according to him, there were “no job opportunities.”
- He was initially recruited by Guadalajara cartel boss Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, who is known as “The Godfather” of Mexico’s modern drug cartels. When Felix Gallardo was arrested in 1989, El Chapo’s Sinaloa cartel began to gain a sure footing in the drug world.
- The Sinaloa drug cartel had an empire that under Joaquin Guzman’s reign expanded across the globe with interests in America, Europe and Asia.
- El Chapo is a legend in Mexico’s underworld and regardless of the violence and other negatives that characterise the drug business, El Chapo’s praises are often sung in folk ballads known as “narcocorridos,” which are tributes to drug capos.
- El Chapo was able to fool the government with some genius engineering. He built tunnels that not only helped them ship drugs right under the US-Mexico border but also helped him on numerous occasions to escape the authorities who were after him.
- Joaquin Guzman became incredibly rich entering Forbes magazine’s list of billionaires. He was, however, to encounter the negative side of making money illegally when he dropped out of the list in 2013 because he allegedly spent a lot of his wealth on protection.
- El Chapo was first arrested in Guatemala in June 1993. In 2001, eight years after, he pulled off his first prison break, sneaking out inside a laundry cart. He was arrested again in February 2014, this time it took him less than two years to pull off a prison break that embarrassed President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration. His men had built a 1.5-kilometer (one-mile) tunnel that opened in his cell’s shower. After he got out he zoomed off on a makeshift motorcycle mounted on rails. It, however, took only six months for the marines to catch him again.
- El Chapo, who has been married at least three times and has several children, was extradited to the US on January 19, 2017. The Sinaloa cartel is, however, expected to remain a powerful force, led by his top associate, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, who has never been caught.