Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman became the face of the Mexican narco-trafficking scene for years. Born in the late 1950s in the La Tuna, Sinaloa region, he gained significant experience in the trade while working for some of the country’s biggest drug trafficking organizations, finally creating his own, The Sinaloa Cartel. He was able to transform it into one of the most successful drug trafficking enterprises in Mexico by launching bloody turf wars to gain access to strategic smuggling routes into the United States.
Delving a bit into his background, he came from a poor family, and his father is said to have been involved in the growing of poppy and marijuana, and selling it to drug suppliers in Guamuchil and Culiacan. Guzman is said to have been introduced into organized crime by Pedro Aviles Perez, his uncle, when he was about 20. This is as reported by The Guardian.
That said, his sons Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar, Edgar Guzman Lopez (dead), Ivan Archivaldo Guzman, Ovidio Guzman Lopez, and Cesar Guzman Salazar have at one time or another been connected to the drug trafficking activities of their father. Born into a life of opulent luxury, their social media accounts offer a glimpse into the lives of drug cartel kingpins, featuring bales of drugs and cash, scantily clad women, fast cars and gold-coated guns.
On their criminal history, Ivan Guzman, who currently heads some of the main operations of their father’s Sinaloa Cartel, alongside Ismael Zambada Garcia aka El Mayo, was in 2004 suspected of being involved in the murder of a Canadian student in Guadalajara. His overturned car, which had guns and drugs was found close to the scene of the crime, leading to his conviction. The decision was overturned soon after, following lack of sufficient evidence. This is according to the Guardian.
He and his brother Ovidio Guzman are on the U.S. Kingpin Act list because of their drug trafficking activities. What’s noteworthy, however, is that they are still at large even though their father has been captured and jailed twice within the past three years before being extradited to the United States. Key operatives of the Sinaloa Cartel such as Damaso Lopez Nunez and Lopez Serrano, his son were also captured last year.
They were at the time at loggerheads with El Chapo’s sons and El Mayo. Juan Manuel Alvarez, the chief money launderer for El Chapo’s cartel was also arrested in 2016 following El Chapo Guzman’s recapture. The string of recent high profile arrests within his cartel, with the exception of his sons makes it probable that El Chapo may have made a deal with U.S. authorities to offer information in exchange for the freedom of his sons and family.
If this happens to be the case, it will not be the first time, as the Sinaloa Cartel and the U.S. government have in the past been reported to have had an arrangement, specifically between the years 2000 and 2012. It allowed Guzman’s organization to traffic ton quantities of drugs into the country in exchange for information on rival cartels. This is according to a Timereport.