Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is no doubt an icon in the drug trafficking world. Famous for ingenious escapes from high-security prisons, he has grown the Sinaloa Cartel into the biggest drug cartel in the world, with estimates showing that it controls about 80 percent of narcotics coming into the United States.
But following his arrest a few weeks ago, his time as a drug dealer and talk of extradition by the Mexican government, it seems unlikely that he will be able to walk again as a free man, of course not unless he escapes from jail again. But even that seems to be out of question right now and the direct consequence is that the Sinaloa Cartel, which he heads, will have to undergo a few changes in leadership.
And so the question arises as to who will be the head, now that El Chapo is behind bars. There are several answers to this, with the obvious being his sons Ivan Guzmán, 32, and Alfredo, 29, who are said to be actively involved in the drug trade. On receiving the news of the capture of their father, a Twitter account supposedly belonging to Ivan posted the following message in defiance of the development.
“We will continue to work… with our heads held high”
This is as reported by Vocativ. However, there has been a lot of speculation that the two may not be able to take over the reins of the top leadership as they are too flashy, an aspect that is deemed to be a weakness as it draws too much attention putting great risk on the whole organization. Moreover, they have to “earn” the respect of associates in the organization.
However, there is one person who has all along been running the Sinaloa cartel jointly with El Chapo Guzman, and his name is Ismael “el Mayo” Zambada. While security forces in Mexico have been arresting and killing top drug cartel leaders, he has, for over 20 years, managed to avoid altercations with the authorities.
However, he has had his fare share of close shaves. He once revealed this during an interview with Julio Scherer of Proceso magazine, adding that his colleague, El Chapo, had more close encounters with the army. The following was his exact statement.
“Have you felt the Army close? — Four times, el Chapo more.
“Really close? —Up, over my head. I fled for the hills, the one where I know the branches, the streams, the stones, everything. They get me if I stay still or become careless, As for El Chapo, if we meet today, I come from far and as soon as we finish, I leave….end”
This is as reported by Borderbeat.
He also spoke about his fear of being arrested. The following was his statement.
“I feel panic of being behind bars.”
Apart from instinct, observers have pointed to two elements that have enabled El Mayo to survive for this long. And one is that he is very careful; and always strives to keep a low profile. He is also said to rely on corruption — bribing politicians, authorities, and earning the support of the community in his locality. For example, in one of his close encounters with the army, he and his men were able to escape from their hideout just minutes before the army made a raid, hiding and running in the shadows for hours with the army hot on their heels.
He recounted the encounter as so close that he and his men could hear the boots of the soldiers. They were eventually able to disappear after arriving at a community where they had the support of the locals. Apparently, a man who knew the area well was able to guide them to safety. It is alleged that the villager was later on handsomely rewarded for this.
[AP Photo/Marco Ugarte]