Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was the stuff of modern-day legend, eluding law enforcement for nearly 13 years.
But that ended Saturday, when he was arrested without incident at a hotel in Mexico’s Pacific beach town of Mazatlan, in his home state of Sinaloa, CNN reports. He was apprehended in a joint operation of Mexican marines and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents, which had been in the works for four or five weeks, the news site says.
The drug lord had been on the run since escaping from prison in 2001. He consistently appears on Forbes magazine’s most powerful list because of his billion-dollar drug empire. West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center dedicated a report to the international presence of Guzman and his drug trafficking.
Now, lawmakers are calling for him to be extradited to the U.S., where he has played a major role in drug trafficking. He is named in multiple federal drug indictments and has been a regular on the DEA’s most-wanted list.
Chicago declared him public enemy No. 1 because he reportedly used the city as a drug-dealing hub, helping it to replace New York City as the nation’s murder capital.
The 56-year-old, whose nickname means “Shorty” in Spanish, was proud of the image he cultivated as an old-school mafia-style boss who bribed officials at every level of government throughout Latin America, officials said.
And his prowess has been lionized in hip-hop and rap and a genre of Mexican ballads called narcocorridos.
“All I wanna be is El Chapo/3 billion dollars in pesos” is part of the chorus to a 2012 rap by Gucci Mane.
But now Guzman’s low-key arrest at the beach resort represents a dramatic shift from the usual narrative that surrounded him and his control of the international Sinaloa drug cartel, which reportedly penetrated not just all of the Americas, but Europe, Australia and West Africa as well, according to the West Point report.