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Friday, 13 March 2009

"El Chapo," Joaquin Guzman heads the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel


21:29 |

"El Chapo," Joaquin Guzman, 54, heads the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel. He escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001 and the United States has offered a $US5 million ($A7.69 million) reward for his capture.On Wednesday, Guzman's name was listed in Forbes magazine as the world's 701st richest person, with a reputed $US1 billion ($A1.54 billion) fortune made from trafficking in cocaine.Calderon, whose two year old war on drug traffickers has ignited a wave of violence, expressed outrage over the Forbes list."Public opinion and now even magazines not only attack and lie about the situation in Mexico, but they also extol criminals. In Mexico we consider this a crime, that is, a justification of crime," Calderon said.In a speech before the America Society and Council of the Americas, Calderon lamented "what appears to be an anti-Mexico campaign ... but that neither intimidates us nor changes one bit our firm resolve to strengthen the rule of law in Mexico."In Washington, State Department spokesman Robert Wood denied Mexico was the target of a campaign to make it look bad."The United States government is not, you know, trying to hatch any plan against Mexico. That's just not the case," Wood said."We do have concerns about the violence on the border. There's no secret. The Mexican government's very concerned about it. It's taking steps to try to do what it can to, you know, stop this violence," he said.The Sinaloa cartel is currently engaged in a bloody turf war with the Juarez drug cartel for the control of lucrative smuggling routes along the US border, especially in Ciudad Juarez where some 1,600 people were killed in 2008.
The illegal drug trade in the United States, the world's top cocaine consumer, has netted Mexican and Colombian drug cartels between $US18 billion ($A27.68 billion) and $US39 billion ($A59.96 billion) last year, 20 per cent of which, according to Forbes, was handled by Guzman's gang.Guzman was arrested in Guatemala in June 1993 and transferred to a Mexican prison, but in 2001 staged a dramatic escape hiding inside a laundry truck and has been at large ever since.He has been on a US wanted list since 1993 on charges he smuggled six tonnes of cocaine inside a shipment of canned goods through the border city of Tecate, in Baja California.He is also been accused of building a network of drug smuggling tunnels between Mexico and the Arizona border city of Douglas.The US Drug Enforcement Administration in 2004 raised a reward for Guzman's capture from $US3 million to $US5 million ($A4 million to $A7 million).His cartel has been under pressure from both sides of the border. Mexico in 2007 seized a 23.5 tonne cocaine shipment allegedly belonging to the Sinaloa cartel, in the country's biggest drug bust.And 52 Sinaloa members were arrested in the United States in February as part of the joint US-Mexico "Operation Xcellerator," which has taken into custody 750 people in the past 21 months.Guzman was arrested in Guatemala in June 1993 and transferred to a Mexican prison, but in 2001 staged a dramatic escape hiding inside a laundry truck and has been at large ever since.
He has been on a US wanted list since 1993 on charges he smuggled six tonnes of cocaine inside a shipment of canned goods through the border city of Tecate, in Baja California.He is also been accused of building a network of drug smuggling tunnels between Mexico and the Arizona border city of Douglas.The US Drug Enforcement Administration in 2004 raised a reward for Guzman's capture from $US3 million to $US5 million ($A4 million to $A7 million).His cartel has been under pressure from both sides of the border. Mexico in 2007 seized a 23.5 tonne cocaine shipment allegedly belonging to the Sinaloa cartel, in the country's biggest drug bust.And 52 Sinaloa members were arrested in the United States in February as part of the joint US-Mexico "Operation Xcellerator," which has taken into custody 750 people in the past 21 months.


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