The "Chapo" Guzman route from a town in Mexico to a feared drug lord and prison in the US

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, the drug trafficker who escaped twice from maximum-security prisons, will spend the rest of his days in a US jail

Acussed drug lord Joaquin 'el chapo' Guzman being walked from military vehicle

Accused drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzmán being walked from a military vehicle. REUTERS

Reuters | Peter Szekely

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Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the Mexican drug trafficker who twice escaped from maximum-security prisons in his country, will spend the rest of his days in a US jail, a federal judge said Wednesday, noting that any quality that can redeem him, does not erase the "overwhelming wickedness" of his actions.

Leer en español: La ruta del "Chapo" Guzmán desde un pueblo en México a temido capo narco y la prisión en EEUU

Guzmán left a bloody trail in Mexico. "Chapo" became a local hero while amassing a fortune based on an illicit business valued by Forbes magazine in 1,000 million dollars in 2009 and by United States attorneys in 12,700 million dollars this month.

His escapes from Mexican prisons exaggerated his reputation as "Robin Hood."

Read also: Mexico revives the case of the 43 missing students

Here are some key events of his rise and fall:

APRIL 4th 1957 (Date used by the Government of the United States, although there are discrepancies)

Joaquín Guzmán was born in La Tuna, Mexico, a town in the Sierra Madre of the state of Sinaloa. As a teenager, according to US prosecutors, he joined what was already an established industry of growing marijuana and poppies for the production of heroin.

The 1980s

Guzmán climbs the ranks of the illegal drug business under the tutelage of the narco leader Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, alias "The Chief of Chiefs", who was a pioneer in the smuggling routes of cocaine to the United States. It was then that he acquired the nickname "El Chapo", which refers to his robust frame and his height of 1.67 meters.


Guzmán was arrested in Guatemala and extradited to Mexico two weeks after gunmen killed a Catholic cardinal who was mistaken for him. He was sentenced to prison, but he used his money to make his stay more comfortable with lovers, prostitutes, and Viagra, according to reports published in the Mexican press.


Guzmán leads his first escape by escaping from a prison in western Mexico, allegedly in a laundry cart with the help of local officials whom he had bribed.


While he was a fugitive, Guzman marries in an ostentatious ceremony with Emma Coronel, then an 18-year-old beauty queen, in a village in the state of Durango. She gave birth to twins at a hospital in Los Angeles in 2011. They are still married.

FEBRUARY 22, 2014

Guzmán is captured without incident in a raid before dawn in a condominium by the sea in Sinaloa.


Guzman escapes again from a maximum-security prison, this time using a tunnel more than 1.6 kilometers long that began in the bathroom of his cell.

JANUARY 8, 2016

Mexican Marines, with the help of US and DEA forces, recapture Guzman six months after his escape in a violent confrontation after a morning raid at a motel in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, which left five dead.

JANUARY 19, 2017

The Mexican government gives Guzman to US agents who transfer him to New York in a small plane. A day later appears in a court in Brooklyn and is declared innocent of 17 criminal charges for having run the largest drug trafficking organization in the world.

NOVEMBER 13, 2018

Under strong security measures, and after some jurors were excused because they were afraid, the trial of Guzmán begins.

FEBRUARY 12, 2019

A federal jury in Brooklyn condemns Guzmán for the 10 charges related to the drugs that are imputed to him, culminating an 11-week trial in which the prosecution presented more than 50 witnesses.

JULY 17, 2019

US District Judge Brian Cogan imposes the sentence of life imprisonment plus 30 years to Guzman during a hearing in Brooklyn.