Who Is El Chapo? Why Mexican Drug Lord Joaquin Guzman Might Have Attempted To Fake Own Death
By Maria Vultaggio | February 23, 2013 9:03 AM EST
“El Chapo” is the nickname of Mexico’s most-wanted drug lord Joaquin Guzman. He was originally assumed to be dead after a gun battle reportedly took place in the rural north of Guatemala on Thursday, but, as of Friday, authorities there are saying the reports both of his death and the gun battle itself were based on a “misunderstanding.”
The details surrounding Guzman’s purported death are sketchy. No body was found, and there isn’t any evidence that a shootout even happened, the Associated Press reported.
Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla spoke to local media about Guzman allegedly being shot dead.
"I apologize if where was a misunderstanding," Lopez told the Guatemalan radio station Emisores Unidos. "It was a mix-up. We were referring to information generated from the area that there was possibly a crime scene with a dead person resembling El Chapo."
However, Lopez added, "As of now, we have no verification."
So why would anyone try to fake the drug lord’s death?
For one thing, Guzman is one of the richest men in the world, according to Forbes.
Believed to be 58, Guzman has an estimated fortune of $1 billion.
He allegedly heads the Sinaloa drug cartel. It’s a criminal organization that is named after the Mexican Pacific Coast state Sinaloa, the same area where it began its operations.
El Chapo has been on the run since he escaped from a Mexican prison in a laundry cart in 2001, the AP said.
He’s essentially a rich fugitive who could easily pay for the faking of his own death, so he would no longer be on the authorities’ radar.
Police have not released the information that made them believe Guzman was dead at first, and has there been no confirmation that the drug lord was trying to fake his own death.
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