Get 'Shorty': Mass murderer, jail breaker and a €1bn fortune

The audacious exploits of ‘El Chapo’ – or ‘Shorty’ – captured the world’s imagination and turned him into a folk hero for some in Mexico, despite the thousands of people killed by his brutal Sinaloa cartel.

In January 2016, after three decades running drugs, Guzman was caught in his native north-western state of Sinaloa.

Six months earlier, he had humiliated Mexico’s then-president, Enrique Peña Nieto, by escaping from prison through a mile-long tunnel dug straight into his cell and equipped with a motorbike – his second time escaping a Mexican jail.

Just days after his 2016 capture, Guzman’s larger-than-life reputation was sealed when movie star Sean Penn published a lengthy account of an interview he conducted with the drug lord, which the Mexican government said was “essential” to his capture a few months later.

Mexico’s government extradited Guzman in January 2017, a day before Donald Trump took office as US president on vows to tighten border security to halt immigration and drug smuggling.

Guzman’s legendary reputation in the Mexican underworld began taking shape when he staged his first jailbreak in 2001 by bribing prison guards, before going on to dominate drug trafficking along much of the Rio Grande.

However, many in towns across Mexico remember Guzman better for his squads of hit men who committed thousands of murders, kidnappings and decapitations.

In February 2013, the Chicago Crime Commission dubbed him the city’s first Public Enemy No 1 since Al Capone.

Security experts concede the 5ft 6in gangster was exceptional at what he did, managing to outmanoeuvre, outfight or outbribe his rivals to stay at the top.

Guzman carefully observed his mentors’ tactics and mistakes, forging alliances that kept him one step ahead of the law for years.

Guzman was born in La Tuna, a village in the Sierra Madre mountains in Sinaloa state where smugglers have grown opium and marijuana since the early 20th century.

He ascended in the 1980s, working with Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, alias “The Boss of Bosses”, who pioneered smuggling routes into the US.

Between 2004 and 2013, Guzman’s gangs fought in all major Mexican cities on the US border, turning Ciudad Juárez and Nuevo Laredo into some of the world’s most dangerous places.

In one attack, 14 bodies were left mutilated under a note that read: “Don’t forget that I am your real daddy” – signed “El Chapo”.

‘Forbes’ magazine put the kingpin’s wealth at $1bn, though investigators say it is impossible to know exactly how much he was worth.

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