The Life of Drug Kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman

Photo by RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

Federal prosecutors have charged the infamous Mexican cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in a U.S. court with running a massive drug trafficking operation. Here’s a brief history of the man Mexican officials extradited to the United States two decades after he was first indicted in an American court:

Full name: Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Lorea.

Nicknames: “El Chapo,” which is Spanish slang for “Shorty.”

Age: Believed to be in his late 50s.

Birthplace: La Tuna, Sinaloa.

Early years: Guzman has said he started selling drugs at age 15 to survive.

Drug empire: American and Mexican officials say Guzman took over the Sinaloa cartel in the 1980s, controlling heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking.

Intel: Prosecutors say Guzman sometimes carried a gold-plated AK-47 rifle and a gold-and-diamond-encrusted .45 mm handgun.

First arrest and escape: Guzman was arrested in Guatemal in 1993 and sentenced to 20 years for drug offenses and murder, but he escaped from prison in 2001.

Second arrest and escape: Guzman was captured by Mexican special forces in 2014 and sent to a Mexican maximum-security prison. He escaped in July 2015 via a milelong underground tunnel leading to a shower in his cell.

Media: While on the lam after his second prison break, Guzman conducted an interview with actor Sean Penn for Rolling Stone magazine.

Extradition: Guzman was recaptured after a gunfight with Mexican marines in January 2016. Despite his lawyers’ efforts to fight extradition, he was taken to New York by the Drug Enforcement Administration on Thursday night.

Charges against him: A 17-count indictment filed in a New York court last May charges Guzman with running a multibillion-dollar drug trafficking operation. He faces the possibility of life in prison. U.S. prosecutors had to agree to not seek the death penalty as a condition of his extradition.

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