Mexican Drug Lord Makes Forbes Billionaire List

Guzman controls 20% of all cocaine traffic in Mexico, Colombia
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2009 7:55 AM CDT
Drug lord Joaquin Guzman gestures in a 1993 file photo. Guzman was included in Forbes last list of billionaires. The magazine estimates his worth at $1 billion, number 701 on the list.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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(Newser) – Many of the world's richest people have lost their spots on Forbes' list of billionaires, but there's at least one head-turning new addition: the head of the Sinaloa cartel, currently embroiled in a Mexican drug war that's left 7,000 people dead. Joaquin Guzman, the 5-foot-tall drug trafficker known as "El Chapo" ("The Dwarf"), escaped from a prison in 2001 and remains at large. "He is not available for interviews," a Forbes editor conceded.

Guzman hit $1 billion after a banner year for cocaine trafficking; his operation is estimated to gross 20% of all the drug revenues in Mexico and Colombia. Believed to live in Mexico or Central America, he married an 18-year-old bride in 2007 under fearsome security. Guzman isn't the first trafficker to make the Forbes list; Pablo Escobar was once ranked the 7th richest man in the world before dying in a shootout with the Colombian police.