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After a thirteen-year-long manhant, drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was apprehended in a joint Mexican and American operation this morning. The key figure in a drug empire that emanated from Mexico and stretched as far as Australia, El Chapo is a modern legend. So vast was El Chapo's reach and wealth, he made Pablo Escobar look like a total punk.

For perspective, Guzman was ranked 67 out of 72 on Forbes' list of the World’s Most Powerful People. That's a higher ranking than the premiers of France and Venezuela.

"His Sinaloa cartel is easily the most powerful in Mexico, responsible for an estimated 25% of all illegal drugs that enter the U.S. via Mexico. Drug enforcement experts estimate, conservatively, that the cartel’s annual revenues may exceed $3 billion."

Other fascinating El Chapo facts: 

  • He had a $7 million bounty on his head.
  • He escaped prison in 2001 after being carted away in a laundry truck. He bribed officials as much as $2 million to get his release.
  • Nobody knows his date of birth. Some say it was 1954, others say 1957.
  • His son Edgar was killed in a shootout in 2008.
  • His nickname means "Shorty," a surprisingly sweet diminutive.
  • Just over a year ago, the Chicago Crime Commission named El Chapo "Public Enemy No. 1." He's the first person to hold that infamous honorific since Al Capone. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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