3 Things El Chapo Could Learn From Pablo Escobar

Kirsten Silven

Comparisons between Mexico's recently escaped crime lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera and Columbia's most famous drug kingpin Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria seem inevitable. This is especially true thanks to the recent popularity of Narcos on Netflix, combined with the fact that El Chapo is currently making headlines for elaborate prison escapes and Twitter fights with Donald Trump.

1. You can run but you can't hide.

Popeye only gives El Chapo "between 16 and 18 months" before he is finally cornered by U.S. agents, Mexican military police, or even the Los Zetas criminal syndicate.

"It's the logical amount of time to corner his finances, his family, his security apparatus. That's not overnight, it's millimeter work. They have to do a lot of intelligence, and that's slow."

2. Crime undermines national security.

El Chapo's antics are undermining Mexico's government and national security, Popeye points out, much like Escobar did as he eluded justice in Columbia. The negative effect this has had on perceptions of Mexico's institutions, as well as the administration of current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, may be hard to properly quantify until the story plays itself out. Still, El Chapo's July 11 prison break earlier this year definitely highlighted Mexico's prison system's weakness, as well as its inability to contain a criminal of his caliber.

"He is a political issue for the Mexican government... Of honor."

El Chapo – like Escobar – is probably not going to make it out of this alive no matter what, according to Popeye.

"El Chapo is a dead man. He knows he has to be killed, because if they catch him alive they will extradite him to the United States. Being in a U.S. prison is a very hard thing. So El Chapo is killed."

While El Chapo might be fearful of extradition, much as Escobar was during his reign, it still remains to be seen whether he would rather die than be captured alive and forced to endure the confines of a U.S. prison for the rest of his days.

Interestingly, both Escobar and Guzman have also done turns on the annual Forbes' Billionaires List, with Pablo appearing from 1987 to 1993 and El Chapo gaining recognition from 2009 to 2012, when he was dropped because Forbes could not reach him to "verify figures," CNN reported.

[Photos via Julian Kopald on Flickr (left) & Facebook screen capture (right)]