El Chapo Guzman is said to be the most powerful drug lord alive. With an estimated net worth of about a billion dollars, he is certainly one of the richest men in Mexico. Currently in jail, El Chapo is reported to be undergoing tremendous psychological torture following his recapture in January this year. This is according to Emma Coronel Aispuro – his wife. The following was her statement in regards to this during a recent interview aired on Telemundo.
“They want to make him pay for his escape. They say that they are not punishing him. Of course they are. They are there with him, watching him in his cell. They are right there, all day long, calling attendance. They don’t let him sleep. He has no privacy, not even to go to the restroom… I am afraid for his life”
This is as reported by the LA Times.
That said, another drug lord – Pablo Escobar — had almost similar attributes to El Chapo but would almost certainly never be tortured by his own government while in incarceration. This is because he was so powerful that the Colombian government was itself afraid of him, and without the help of the United States would certainly have had a very hard time containing him.
Born in 1949, he, like El Chapo started out as a small time drug dealer but did not inherit any trafficking routes or territories like the former. Instead, he used overwhelming violence right from the start to take over territory, which was mostly uncontested. He is said to have ordered the assassination of Fabio Restrepo, who in the 1970s was one of the biggest drug traffickers in Medellin.
By the 1980s, Pablo Escobar is said to have been responsible for bringing in about 80 percent of the cocaine in America. According to Business Insider, he is said to have netted about $420 million a week at the time. Of course, the money soon became too much to hide, and so he stashed it in dilapidated warehouses, farming fields, and walls in the homes of cartel members. According to Roberto Escobar, who was his chief account, Escobar had to write off approximately 10 percent of the money each year due to damage caused by water and rats. In fact, they had to buy $2,500 worth of rubber bands very month to bundle up the money.
Of course, with his immense wealth, Pablo Escobar was able to win the support of his community by funding the building of schools and infrastructure as well as providing employment and sponsorship to the youth and the poor. However, he also used some of it to sponsor terrorism. In 1985 for example, he ordered the siege of Colombia’s Supreme court with the implementers being the M19 guerrilla group.
The move was in an attempt to force the Supreme Court of Colombia to stop any extradition attempts as Pablo was at the time one of those considered for it. It has been reported that Pablo paid M19 a million dollars to execute the siege. An estimated 6,000 criminal documents against him were burnt during the incident.
This caused the government to be even more determined to annihilate him, but in the end had to negotiate with him to say at a prison built and designed by him in exchange for a promise to end his drug trafficking activities and violence.
This is a sharp contrast to El Chapo Guzman, who has almost always had to “hide” from the government, and never been so bold as to directly fight the government as Pablo did. And seeing that he is currently being tortured for escaping from prison last year, he no doubt has no such comparable influence as Pablo. Looking at his wealth, El Chapo’s 1 billion dollar net worth seems measly to Escobar’s, estimated to be at $30 billion at the time of his death in 1993.
[AP Photo/Luis Benavides]