Police Arrest El Chapo Associate 'El Rey Midas,' Money Man Who Allegedly Laundered Billions For The Drug Kingpin

Mexican police claim they have captured El Chapo's "money man" and chief financial officer, Juan Manuel Alvarez Inzunza, nicknamed "El Rey Midas" ("King Midas") in Oaxaca, Mexico. Police say he is the brains behind El Chapo's money laundering operations that has stashed away over $4 billion within the last decade.

As the Telegraph reports, El Rey Midas, 34, managed a network of currency exchange centers and companies that ferried between $300 million and $400 million every year on behalf of El Chapo's Sinaloa cartel.

El Chapo Money Man
El Chapo's alleged money man, Juan Manuel Alvarez, or 'El Rey Midas.' [Photo by Mexico's Federal Police, or SEGOB/AP]

El Rey Midas, who operated in Jalisco and Sinaloa, was in Oaxaca on holiday when he was arrested by police without the use of strong arm tactics and putting other people at risk. He has been transferred to Mexico City and handed over to anti-drug prosecutors representing the attorney general's office. Authorities say that he will be extradited to the United States at the behest of a Washington federal court.

El Chapo's Sinaloa cartel is the number one Mexican drug trafficking network in America. It has an expansive network that covers 48 states in America, including Hawaii and Alaska. El Chapo has escaped twice from prison and was recently captured in the town of Los Mochis, near his home state Sinaloa, in a hotel, according to the Huffington Post.

The drug kingpin had escaped from a maximum security prison in July 2015 through a tunnel in his shower. Five people were killed in a shootout between suspected cartel members and the military when he was arrested. He had also escaped from jail in 2001 when he had been held in clemency and allowed visits from prostitutes. He reportedly escaped in a laundry basket in 2001 and left the maximum prison in 2015 on a modified motorbike that drove him for over a mile. Thirty-four people were charged with helping him escape in late 2015, including the head of Mexico's federal prison system and the former director of the maximum prison he escaped from.

His eldest daughter, Rosa Isela Guzmán Ortiz, 39, said her father entered the United States twice to visit relatives and has bankrolled the elections of top Mexican politicians.

"My dad is not a criminal. The government is guilty," she told the Guardian.

Ortiz said her father crossed the U.S.-Mexican border in late 2015 to also see her five-bedroom home he had bought her and her kids.

Ortiz said her father was able to enter the U.S. twice because officials helped him evade border controls despite being one of the most sought after fugitives in the world. The drug lord also planned to hand over the cartel to his step-brother Iván Archivaldo but was betrayed by a cartel colleague, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, and some people in the Mexican government.

A citizen of the U.S., Ortiz runs a chain of small businesses in California and speaks impeccable English. She likens herself to narco juniors, a term for the privileged children of Mexican drug lords. She insists that the money she makes is clean.

"My businesses are the results of my own efforts," Oritz said.

José Reveles, the author of a slew of books about the Mexican drug business, said nothing was impossible for El Chapo, saying that the Sinaloa Cartel started the building of sophisticated tunnels to smuggle cartel members and drugs into the U.S.

"Everything indicates that El Chapo would be able to visit the US: he's very smart, he has well-trained operatives and he has experts in building tunnels," he said.

El Chapo was an orange seller before hitting it big-time selling massive amounts of marijuana, cocaine, and other drugs. It made him one of the richest men in drug history. His infamous successes are hinged on the fact that he bought protection from the top and dispatched representatives to broker deals and agreements with high-ranking government officials.

[Photo by Marco Ugarte/AP]