Episode 210: El Chapo: The Ultimate Kingpin

This episode is brought to you by El Yucateco

On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we look at the life, crimes, escapes, and captures of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera. El Chapo was born in the mid-1950s in the small Mexican town of Badiraguato. Nobody knows his exact birth date since records don’t really exist in that rural area, and he has told several people several different dates. What we do know is that he was the son of a violent and abusive father, and he grew up having to defend himself and his siblings.

The young Joaquín Guzmán had no formal education, only getting stray traveling teachers who would come to his village a couple of months per year. By the equivalent of third grade, he is said to have stopped schooling altogether in order to help with family finances—this meant everything from selling chicklets, oranges, and sodas on the streets to working farm labor. By his early teens, he started his own small operation, growing marijuana (and possibly poppies), which was really the only way for anyone to make money in that area.

By his late 20s, he had earned his nickname El Chapo (Shorty) and was running logistics for another drug kingpin, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, who ran the Guadalajara Cartel. Gallardo was eventually arrested, and El Chapo earned a percentage of his business and was soon the top drug producer in Mexico. At his height, his Sinaloa Cartel was said to have been responsible for about half of the meth, heroin, coke, and weed being smuggled into America. He is also the master of the jail break, having snuck out of multiple jails and escaping Mexican law enforcement for decades.

So how did he break out of the jails? How wealthy is he? Did the actor Sean Penn help to get him arrested? What crazy methods has he used to get drugs into the US? Why is it maybe even worse now that he’s in an American jail? How many people did his drug war kill? How did his son and a Catholic cardinal both die because of El Chapo? Listen, laugh, learn.

Rolling Stone’s Sean Penn Article: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/el-chapo-speaks-20160109

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