Within the list of most wanted fugitives by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are three members of the Arellano Felix cartel (Eduardo Arellano Felix, Manuel Aguirre Galindo and Gustavo Rivera Martinez) and nine other people most of them from Latin America. But the most wanted of all is the famous Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera, alias “El Chapo”. The US government has offered up to US$5 million for relevant information that leads to his capture.
Chapo Guzman’s story is worthy of a Hollywood film. He is the world’s most wanted millionaire. Forbes magazine considers him as one of the richest men in the world with a fortune estimated at US$1,000 million. He is known as “El Chapo”, a nickname that is used in Mexico for short people. Guzman is native of Badiraguato, located in the state of Sinaloa, northwestern Mexico and is the area where most of drug traffickers come from and one of the areas that produce the most marijuana and heroin in the country.
According to information gathered about him, “El Chapo” is a dangerous and seductive man, able to wait for the best moment to carry out his vengeance. He has got married at least three times, the last one to an 18-year-old bride. Usually he travels in luxury and armoured cars accompanied by more than 20 former military-trained bodyguards. It is said that Guzman never leaves his gold-plated AK47 rifle.
In 1993 he was arrested by Mexican police for murder and drug trafficking but in 2001 escaped from prison with the help of nearly a hundred people and then took control of the Sinaloa cartel. The Mexican police have offered a US$2 million reward for those who provide relevant information of his whereabouts. However, according to the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Durango, Hector Gonzalez Martinez, “El Chapo” lives in Guanacevi a borough adjacent to Chihuahua and “everybody knows it but the authorities”.
The DEA list includes nine other people, four Colombians, three Mexicans, one Pakistani and just one American citizen. The Colombians are Nelson Barrera and Oscar Caracas Viveros both wanted for importation, production and distribution of cocaine; Maria Teresa Osorio De Serna, for money laundering and Ivan Dario Ramirez for possession of cocaine. The list is made up of Mexicans Elizabeth Garza Otte for distribution and possession of drugs; Rafael Caro Quintero for kidnapping and killing a federal agent as well as for possession with intent of distribute marijuana and cocaine; and Vicente Carrillo Fuentes for possession of cocaine and intent to distribute. The list is completed by the Pakistani citizen Haji Ehai Ibrahim for attempted distribution of heroin and importation of a controlled substance and the American Fritz Louis Otte for distribution and possession of drugs.
According to the DEA web site, at least eight rewards have been paid so far. It is noteworthy that the majority of the most wanted are from Mexico or Colombia, both countries where the US government has focused its war on drugs policy. Is this a sign of success of this policy? Or on the contrary, does it reveal the failure of the policy?