El Chapo has been one of the most sought after drug lords in the world for the last decade. Born in La Tuna, Sinaloa, Mexico, he cited lack of jobs as one of the main drivers of drug dealing activities in the region during an interview with Sean Penn, just over a year ago. This is not to mention the harsh climate, and the marijuana and poppy growing tradition in the area. Given how lucrative the trade is, many Mexican drug lords have come and gone, but the vice has continued to grow.
As such, when El Chapo was captured and extradited to the United States ín 2016, other capos were ready to take over territories under his control. The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) was one of the organizations that made bold inroads, and even reportedly kidnapped his sons for ransom, while they partied in Puerto Vallarta, one of its territories.
That said, some of the top drug traffickers that replaced the fallen drug lord on the U.S. most wanted list include Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, a veteran kingpin who has, for a long time, been considered to be El Chapo’s partner in the Sinaloa Cartel. He keeps a very low profile, and has never been arrested for any offense.
Another is Rafael Caro Quintero. He became one of the most wanted men after he reportedly ordered the murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena Salazar in 1985. He was arrested while in hiding in Costa Rica and extradited to Mexico, where he was sentenced to 40 years. He was released after a judge ruled that his trial did not follow procedure. Another warrant for his arrest was issued a few days later, but he has remained a fugitive since.
Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, aka El Mencho, is another drug lord on the DEA’s most wanted list. He has a $5 million bounty on his head. His cartel, the CJNG, has grown its influence in recent years by unleashing unprecedented violence on rival cartels. Moreover, it has, on numerous occasions, openly attacked law enforcement officials.
John Alexander Thompson, aka Coach, is also in the top 10. His country of origin is not listed, and few details about him have been released, except that he is of African or Caribbean descent, as reported by Vice.