Joaquín Guzmán Loera, also known as Chapo ('Shorty') is a Mexican former drug lord, and one of the former most powerful men in Mexico.
Initially starting out as Pedro Avilés' personal driver, Chapo was recruited as a driver by Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo after the latter killed Pedro. Eventually, Chapo began working under his friend Rafael Caro Quintero, and quickly began to rise through the ranks.
Guzmán Loera was born in rural Sinaloa. Chapo frequently took beatings from his abusive father to save his siblings. Chapo studied upto third grade, but he left school and found employment in marijuana smuggling organizations. By 1980, he had joined a smuggling organization run by Pedro Avilés, the 'Lion of Sinaloa'. Guzmán worked as Avilés' personal chauffeur, and got acquainted with marijuana farmer Rafael Caro Quintero. He acquired the nickname 'El Chapo', which translated into 'Shorty', referencing his short stature.
Guzmán drove his boss to Guadalajara, Jalisco to attend a meeting of leaders of several plazas to finalize the formation of a federation of drug traffickers. However, Pedro withdrew from the group after sensing disrespect from Ojinaga-based smuggler Pablo Acosta. Other smugglers also began to withdraw, fearing that Avilés would undercut them. Avilés berates the architect of the plan, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo for being an upstart, and orders Chapo to drive them back to Sinaloa; to kill Félix Gallardo.
However, unbeknownst to them, the Director-General of the DFS Salvador Osuna Nava was enthusiastic about the plan and decided to replace Pedro with Félix Gallardo. Ernesto 'Don Neto' Carrillo is accompanied by several DFS agents as they intercept Pedro's convoy and kill all of his lieutenants, and allow Félix Gallardo to personally execute his former boss. Chapo, who was unarmed, was spared by Don Neto after he agreed to work as Félix Gallardo's driver. Félix's organization would become the Guadalajara cartel, and at it's peak, pulled in a daily revenue of $15 billion.
Chapo's friendship with Guadalajara cartel drug lord Caro Quintero allowed him to rise up the cartel, and soon worked as one of Caro Quintero's bodyguards, along with Cuco and Manuel. As Caro Quintero examined a house for purchase along with its realtor, Chapo, Cuco and Manuel drove dirtbikes around it before crashing one into the pool.
At this point, Chapo began working alongside Benjamín and Ramón Arellano Félix; his future enemies. A few months after the cartel's creation, the DFS organize a hit on veteran smuggler and cartel member Victor Molina, who they believed was stealing from them. In the shoot-out at his ranch, one of Ramón's cousins is killed by a DFS agent. In order to prevent Ramón from retaliating against the DFS, Félix has Chapo, Cuco and Don Neto's nephew Amado Carrillo Fuentes ambush the DFS team and capture the agent. Chapo violentely bludgeoned the agent with a pipe wrench before stuffing him in the boot of a car, and presented the agent to a vengeful Ramón, who shot the agent in his genitals, and buried him alive.
However despite this, the working relationship between Chapo and Ramón began to strain. Ramón mocked Chapo's short stature, and Chapo mocked his fashion choices and alleged that he was a homosexual. Félix Gallardo shifted the cartel towards cocaine smuggling, and angered Alberto Sicilia Falcon in the process. Sicilia controlled smuggling in Tijuana, and allowed the Arellano-Félix brothers to smuggle marijuana through that corridor provided that they don't interfere his cocaine business. Seeing the brothers entering the cocaine business as an act of war, he raided one of Rafael's warehouses and confiscated all the marijuana.
Félix Gallardo sent Rafael and Don Neto to take care of Alberto. Don Neto bribed a significant chunk of the local police force, and along with Rafael, Cochiloco and Chapo, raid one of Sicilia Falcon's warehouses. Chapo demonstrated his brutality by executing wounded guards in point blank range, set the building on fire, and drove away with all of Rafael's weed intact. Sicilia Falcon reacts by sending a corrupt brigade of the Mexican Army to raid one of Rafael's warehouses in Tijuana.
After a brief firefight, Chapo drove Don Neto, Rafael, Cochiloco, Sammy Alvarez and the two Arellano-Félix brothers in a modified pick-up truck. Félix Gallardo eliminated Sicilia Falcon with help from a corrupt Mexican government official. By 1984, marijuana lost its importance within the cartel, and as a result, Rafael Caro Quintero spent his fortunes partying across Mexico, with Chapo accompanying him. In one such party, Chapo is forced to break away a confrontation between Amado and Rafael.
Chapo was present in the Rancho Búfalo when it was raided by the Mexican military. He hurriedly woke up an inebriated Rafael, and protected his boss as he attempted to defend his farm. Despite killing several soldiers, the smugglers were forced to abandon the plantation, and over $8 billion worth of marijuana were seized and burnt by the Mexican army.
The cartel leadership identified the American DEA agent responsible for the raid- Enrique Camarena Salazar. Juan José Esparragoza Moreno, a DFS commander, manipulated Rafael into ordering the abduction of Camarena, and his Mexican pilot Alfredo Zavala Avelar and had them tortured for information, resulting in their deaths. With the death of an American federal agent being made public, the United States of America reacted strongly. The Americans closed all border crossings and threatened of waging economic warfare against Mexico. The fallout of Camarena's murder led to the arrests of Rafael Caro Quintero and Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo. Félix Gallardo disappeared with the help of the DFS.
With all three of the cartel leaders inactive, Sinaloan socialite Isabella Bautista manipulated Benjamín Arellano Félix into calling a meeting to decide on the affairs of the cartel without the founders. Halfway through the meeting, military helicopters begin encircling the hotel, and hundereds of soldiers descend into the rooftops. Within seconds, a squadron of soldiers barge into the meeting, and disarm all guards. Félix Gallardo was escorted in by the military, and he kicked Isabella out of the meeting and took control of the organization.
Chapo was appointed as a junior leader of the Sinaloa plaza, led by Héctor Palma Salazar and Cochiloco. They presented Félix Gallardo a tiger on the occasion of his fortieth birthday.
Since the Sinaloan plaza lacked a border with the United States, Félix Gallardo allowed them to smuggle their cocaine through the Tijanua plaza, using their infrastructure and trucks. This angered the Arellano Félix brothers, since the Sinaloans would stockpile large amounts of cocaine in their warehouses without moving them for a long time. Chapo and Cochi borrowed one of the Arellano Félix brothers' trucks for over a day, and sent it back along with a wild pig in the bay as a practical joke, angering the brothers.
In 1986, Benjamín hosted a party for his brother, Francisco Rafael Arellano Félix, who returned after completing a prisons sentence in America. Chapo and Cochi gatecrash the party, and got into a verbal altercation with Ramón. Afterwards, they toast to Francisco's freedom, but Chapo jokingly toasted to Francisco as the one who "sucked the most cocks in the history of the Californian prison system", leading to a brawl between members of the Sinaloa and Tijuana plazas.
After the incident, Benjamín threatened to leave the cartel if the issues persisted, and to calm him, Félix Gallardo imposed a 10% tax on all the cocaine which the Sinaloans trafficked through the Tijuana plaza. This angered Palma, who ordered Chapo and Cochi to retrieve all of their cocaine stored in Tijuana.
In order to keep cash flowing, Chapo came up a plan of digging tunnels right under the border from Tijuana to the United States. After getting his bosses to agree, he purchased a warehouse in Baja California, and other in the United States; and began work on his tunnel. One night, the tunnel caved in, killing a construction worker. Regardless of the setback, Chapo single-handedly plowed through the rubble and successfully completed the tunnel.
The DEA identified the tunnel, and instead of sending their men to intercept it, they leak the information to the Arellano Félix brothers. Enraged, Ramón and his men attacked the warehouse, and attempt to fill the tunnel with concrete while Chapo was still inside, transporting cocaine. Impatient, Ramón threw explosives into the tunnel, causing the tunnel to crumble. Chapo and his men however escape to safety in the American side. Those who escaped to the Mexican side were executed by Ramón.
This incident led to a series of incidents between the Tijana and Sinaloa plazas, which involved each of them killing members of the rival plazas, culminating with Cochiloco driving a steamroller over two of the Tijuana lieutenants. Meanwhile, Félix Gallardo was ambushed by the Gulf cartel; and Benjamin gained knowledge about the attack despite Félix's efforts to hide it. Sensing weakness, Benjamin attempted to rebel, but in order to soothe him, Félix allowed him to kill Cochiloco, whom Palma sent to negotiate peace with the Sinaloans. Ramón and his men unload over 70 bullets into Cochiloco as his car pulled up to an intersection in Tijuana.
The death of Cochiloco left Palma and Chapo devastated. Palma spoke to his former mentor Pablo Acosta, who was the leader of the Juarez plaza at that time, and they pondered upon the idea of leaving the Guadalajara cartel. However, the conversation was secretely recorded by Rafael Aguilar Guajardo, one of Acosta's men, and was sent to Félix Gallardo; who decided to eliminate Palma. Félix Gallardo's chauffeur, who was romantically involved with Palma's wife, Guadalupe, informed her about the attack, and she informed her husband. Palma sent his wife into hiding, while he stayed back and successfully prevented El Azul from killing him, and also went into hiding, making Chapo the de facto leader of the Sinaloa plaza.
Despite being mad at Félix Gallardo, Chapo agreed to attack polling stations during the 1988 elections to add votes to the PRI.
Months later, Chapo convinced all other plaza leaders to accept Palma back into the game. Félix Gallardo agreed, but decided to send Clavel to kill Palma's wife and children to instill fear among his employees. The murder of Palma's was the nail in the coffin for the Sinaloans, and in the subsequent meeting at the Hotel Americas; Chapo announced that the Sinaloan plaza will be leaving the cartel, and he was joined by El Azul. Concurrently, the Arellano-Félix brothers and Carrillo Fuentes pulled the Tijuana and Juarez plazas out of the Félix Gallardo's organization, ending the Guadalajara cartel.
After Félix Gallardo's arrest; the plaza leaders, along with leaders of the Gulf cartel met up and swore peace. Chapo ended the fued between Sinaloa and Tijuana by shaking hands with Benjamín.
He later brought Palma back into the cartel, and together, they tracked down Clavel and killed him.
During his early drug trafficking years, Chapo is portrayed as a playful brat; often seen spending time messing around with Caro Quintero, Cuco and Cochiloco. However despite this, Chapo's brutality always existed. He showed no remorse in killing wounded gunmen employed by Sicilia Falcon, and suggested to burn down the Cuban's warehouses, stunning Fonseca Carrillo.
After Caro Quintero's death, Chapo was appointed as a junior leader of the Sinaloa plaza and quickly bonded with his boss Palma. His resourcefulness is shown when he built tunnels under Tijuana, impressing his boss Palma.
Unlike other drug lords, Chapo had a favourable view of his mother, and lived with her well into his 30s.
|"The Plaza System"|
|"Rafa, Rafa, Rafa!"|
|"The Colombian Connection"|
|"La Última Frontera"|
|"Jefe de Jefes"|
|"Just Say No"|
|"811 Lope de Vega"|
|"Salva El Tigre"|
|"Alea Iacta Est"|
|"Ruben Zuno Arce"|
|"The Big Dig"|
|"Truth and Reconciliation"|
|"Se Cayó El Sistema"|
|"Growth, Prosperity, and Liberation"|