PanARMENIAN.Net - There are currently 7 most powerful Mexican cartels that reign America's drug market, practicing beheadings, mass executions, public hangings and torture.
Mexico's drug wars have claimed more than 80,000 lives between 2006 and 2015, according to analyst estimates in the 2015 Congressional Research Service report. Fierce rivalries between Mexico's drug cartels have wreaked havoc on the lives of civilians who have nothing to do with the drug trade. Bystanders, people who refused to join cartels, migrants, journalists and government officials have been killed.
Pedro Avilés Pérez was a pioneer drug lord in the Mexican state of Sinaloa in the late 1960s. He is considered to be the first generation of major Mexican drug smugglers of marijuana who marked the birth of large-scale Mexican drug trafficking. He also pioneered the use of aircraft to smuggle drugs to the United States. Aviles was killed in a shootout with police in 1978.
The present face of the Sinaloa cartel, billionaire kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, is not the only leader of the organization. Guzman has reportedly shared control of Sinaloa with Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada Garcia, and possibly Juan Jose "El Azul" Esparragoza Moreno, whom some believe to be dead.
The Sinaloa Cartel controls roughly 40% to 60% of the country's drug trade, with earnings at around $3 billion. Although it functions through loose links to smaller organizations, Sinaloa is considered one of the most cohesive.
Born in Badiraguato, "El Chapo", which means "shorty" in English, rose from the streets to run the drug empire by using assassins and hit squads to maintain control. His childhood was shaped by his family’s poverty and his abusive father, a violent man who was in the drug trade. By his teens, Guzman had been kicked out of the family home and was forced to make his own way. With little schooling in his background, he eventually found himself following his father's path, growing marijuana for small amounts of cash.
By his late 20s, Guzmán was supervising logistics for another drug kingpin, Miguel Angel Félix Gallardo, founder of the Guadalajara cartel. Guzman kept a low profile, but when his boss was eventually arrested for the 1985 murder of an American Drug Enforcement Agency agent, he quickly emerged as one of the new faces of the Mexican drug world.
Inheriting some of his former boss’s territory, Guzmán founded his own cartel, known as Sinaloa, in 1989. As the power of the Colombian drug cartels like Medellin and Cali began to wane, Sinaloa was among the Mexican organizations filling the void. Under Guzmán’s direction, it took control of the cocaine trade extending from South America to the United States.
In addition to cocaine, Sinaloa trafficked heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine. Eventually, the cartel’s tentacles touched five continents and grew to be the biggest drug operation in the world.
Guzmán coupled that success with serious muscle. He established gangs with names such as “Los Chachos,” "Los Texas,” “Los Lobos” and “Los Negros” to protect his empire. Over the years, Guzmán’s men have been accused of committing more than 1,000 murders throughout Mexico, the casualties including both incompetent henchmen and rival bosses.
In 1993, Guatemalan authorities arrested Guzmán and extradited him to Mexico, where he was convicted and sentenced to a maximum-security prison for 20 years. However, he escaped in 2001 after serving eight years of his sentence. He went on the run for more than a decade. In 2014, Guzman was arrested again, but he escaped a year later through a hole in the shower of his cell block. After months on the run, he was caught in January and is currently fighting extradition to the United States, where he's expected to face charges of conspiring to import hundreds of thousands of pounds of cocaine into the country between 1999 and 2014.
Guzman has reportedly bedded pop stars and politicians, hundreds in total. He has an estimated 18 children with seven different women. His current wife, Emma Coronel, is a former beauty queen who met the kingpin when she was just 18. One of his wives disappeared and the other was slain by rival gangsters. He is even believed to have fathered a baby with a Mexican politician.
“El Chapo” is so powerful that he’s been named to the Forbes “World’s Most Powerful People” list every year since 2009. He has also been declared the “Godfather of the Drug World” by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Now that he is once again in custody, many wonder whether he will turn on his former allies and testify against them in hopes of negotiating a deal for himself.