A major player in the world of
drug trafficking was captured this weekend in Mexico. Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman,
the reported head of Mexico's Sinaloa cartel, was captured by U.S.
and Mexican authorities at a hotel in Mazatlan Mexico. Guzman faces multiple
drug trafficking indictments in the United States and is on the Drug Enforcement
Agency's most wanted list. Widely known as perhaps one of the world's
most powerful and ruthless cartel leaders, his organization allegedly
traffics illegal narcotics throughout North America. Some authorities
believe that Guzman's operation even conducts drug trafficking operations
in Europe and Australia.
Drug Trafficking Kingpin
Guzman's exploits have long been the subject of sensational rumor and
speculation. Reportedly, Guzman transformed himself from a low-level Mexican
drug capo into arguably the most powerful drug trafficker in the world.
Incredibly, Forbes magazine, which has listed him among the "World's
Most Powerful People," has his personal fortune at more than $1 Billion.
His play for power against competing Mexican cartels has caused a bloodbath
in some Mexican cities. In response to the drug cartel related violence,
Mexican authorities stepped up operations against Guzman's organization.
Recently, law enforcement seized hundreds of tons of marijuana and precursor
chemicals from locations his cartel used in Mexico and Guatemala. His
operation also suffered an additional blow when authorities discovered
a massive, sophisticated, underground
methamphetamine lab linked to the Sinaloa cartel in western Mexico.
Surprisingly, Guzman is still celebrated in folk songs and is rumored to
have enjoyed protection from the impoverished villagers in the remote
and mountainous regions of Sinaloa and Durango where he maintained numerous
hideouts. Despite his popularity with many of the residents of his home
state in Mexico, U.S. law enforcement authorities in particular, contend
that his drug trafficking organization was the most sophisticated and
aggressive in Mexico. "There's no drug trafficking organization
in Mexico with the scope, the savvy, the operational ability, expertise
and knowledge as the Sinaloa cartel," said one former U.S. law enforcement
official, who couldn't be quoted by name for security reasons. When
you take on the Sinaloa cartel, "you've kind of lined yourself
up against the New York Yankees of the drug trafficking world."
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