Revered in mountains!
In the mountain towns of Sinaloa and the Golden Triangle region that is the Napa Valley of Mexico‘s marijuana and heroin poppy industry, Guzmán is a godfather figure. Locals don’t call the 5-foot-6 Guzmán by his popular moniker “El Chapo,” or Shorty, but speak of him in whispers as“El Señor,” meaning “The Man” or “The Lord.”
At the outdoor market in Santiago de los Caballeros, where the arrival of an outsider draws wary stares from young men with new pickups and walkie-talkies, the CDs of narcocorrido bands venerate “The Lord of the Mountains” with songs.
Facundo Sillas, 72, a blue-eyed cowboy in a white sombrero, said life in Guzmán’s domain wasn’t bad as long as one followed El Señor’s simple dictum: “Either you behave,” Sillas said, “or you end up in a hole.”
Michael Vigil, former chief of international operations for the DEA, said: “If I were a betting man, I would say Chapo is not too far from where he was born. I have been in those mountains, and you could live there for centuries and never be found.”
Héctor González, the Roman Catholic archbishop in neighboring Durango, said in 2009 that Guzmán was “living nearby, and everyone knows it except the authorities.” The bullet-ridden bodies of two Mexican military officers, suspected to have been working undercover, soon were found near the dirt-floor village where González said Guzmán was living. A message beside the bodies read “You’ll never get ‘El Chapo,’ not the priests, not the government.”
Guzmán turned 54 this year, ancient for a drug lord.
Drug-war scholars say his Sinaloa cartel has benefited from Mexican security forces’ aggressive pursuit of the Zetas, because limited resources do not allow the forces to confront every criminal group with the same intensity. Although Guzmán’s earnings are believed to derive primarily from drug trafficking, the business model of the Zetas relies heavily on kidnapping, human trafficking and extortion.
“Chapo moves a kilo of cocaine over the U.S. border practically every 10 minutes, so he doesn’t need to extort anyone,” national-security expert Raúl Benítez said.
- fugitive drug lord Joaquin Guzman, alias “El Chapo,” may be hiding out in the U.S. (pikapvs.wordpress.com)