Authorities Say Time's Nearly Up for Mexico's Drug King

Head of Sinaloa cartel uses wealth, ruthlessness to avoid capture
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2009 10:00 AM CDT
This undated image released by Mexico's Attorney General's Office on May 31, 1993, shows Drug lord Joaquin Guzman alias "El Chapo."   (AP Photo/Procuraduria General de la Republica)
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(Newser) – Joaquin Guzman grew up in grinding poverty in Mexico, but today he's on the Forbes billionaires list as a larger-than-life "narco folk hero," write David Luhnow and Jose de Cordoba in a profile of "El Chapo" for the Wall Street Journal. Guzman, kingpin of the Sinaloa cartel, is responsible for much of the drugs that end up on US streets, with the usual complement of corrupt cops under his thumb. "Part Al Capone and part Jesse James," he plays no small role in the violence that has left 11,000 people dead over 3 years.

Guzman has used his wealth—and cruelty—to build a huge organization to shield him from US and Mexican authorities. Some of those chasing him, however, believe his power may be waning and say life as a fugitive has aged him rapidly. The 52-year-old "Guzman is "a dead man walking, and he knows it," said retired DEA chief Michael Braun. "No one in his business lives to old age, or to enjoy his grandchildren."