El Chapo Net Worth

El Chapo is the popular name of Joaquín Guzmán Loera. He was one of the most famous drug lords worldwide. Famed as a mastermind of strategic deceptions, his criminal activities helped him earn a huge amount of money. That's why El Chapo's net worth in 2024 is $1 Billion. This former Mexican drug kingpin oversaw drug trafficking between the US and Mexico on a large scale.

In addition to dealing with dark business, he stored huge wealth during his years of criminal life. The estimates of his income at that time are highly debated. Yet, it is believed that it has reached billions of dollars. While his wealth came from the drug trade, which was highly profitable, his cartel had a stronghold on the global narcotics market. However, this phase of his life ended with his capture and then extradition to the United States. Here, he was charged with drug trafficking, money laundering, and other crimes. Let's explore the interesting facts of his criminal and personal life.

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El Chapo Rapid Biography & Wealth Analysis

Full NameJoaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera
Birth DayApril 4, 1957
Birth PlaceLa Tuna, Mexico
Height5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Children15 To 24
  • Alejandrina María Salazar Hernández (1977)
  • Estela Peña
  • Griselda López Pérez (mid-1980s)
  • Emma Coronel Aispuro (Wife)
Zodiac SignAries
Source of WealthDrug Trafficking, Extortion & Protection Rackets, Kidnapping & Ransom, Money Laundering, Network Of Corruption, Real Estate
Net Worth$1 Billion
Social Media Handles-

Early Life & Surviving On The Streets

Childhood & Family Life

Joaquín Guzmán, the infamous "El Chapo," had a simple origin in the town of La Tuna, Mexico. His parents worked hard; his dad was a rancher and a grower of opium poppies. Joaquín had a big family with many brothers; however, sadly, some of his oldest brothers passed away when he was a child. Life was by no means a walk in the park for him. At an early age, he dropped out of school for the sake of his family and sold oranges to anyone who was in need.

Teenage Challenges & Adventures

The teenage years become much more complicated for him. His dad had kicked him out, so he went to live with his grandpa. That is when he was nicknamed "El Chapo" because he was short but strong. Because he had no future in his hometown, he decided to leave in search of a better future.

He was introduced to the drug world by his cousins, who they used to grow marijuana. He even started his own plantation to support himself and his family. Regardless of the threats, he eventually made his way into organized crime, inspired by his uncle. It was hard for him, but he was set on making a name for himself.

Early Beginnings: Working For "El Güero" Palma

Initial Involvement In The Drug Business

In the 1980s, Juan José Esparragoza Moreno, nicknamed "El Azul," started his career in the Mexican drug market. He started by working for a big drug lord called Héctor "El Güero" Palma, who transported drugs from the mountains to Mexican cities near the US border. Even in those very days, Guzmán made it clear that he meant business. If delivery were delayed, he'd do it all on his own, even to the level of violence.

In no time, he got noticed by Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, a ruthless drug lord. Impressing Gallardo, Guzmán was tasked with coordinating the drug shipment from Colombia to Mexico. Within a short time, he became a crucial member of the drug trade hierarchy.

The Rise & Split Of Power & The Cartel

As the 1980s started to develop, Guzmán's rule was established, especially after his arrest. With the cartel leader gone, he saw an opening to take over the territory. Along with other big traffickers, they decided that Mexico would be divided into regions for different cartels. He was an icon in a new cartel named Sinaloa; he managed the supply of drugs through important border crossings.

He was not only a big boss, he was also smart. He put great importance on keeping himself out of the public eye, owning properties and ranches under pseudonyms. Such places worked as lookouts and storehouses for drugs, guns, and money. Despite the growing interest of the U.S. authorities, he was staying ahead. So, he introduced these tactical methods, such as tunnels for drugs entering the United States.

Dealing With Challenges

His life was not so easy; he also had obstacles. In 1985, when a DEA agent was killed, tensions spiked. He took the opportunity and asserted himself in the cartel. In addition, he had to be more careful due to the higher control regime of both Mexican and American authorities.

To keep his business running at a high level, he used his trusted allies and creative methods like delivering drugs in cans. Despite the dangers, he kept building his power base, remaining a step ahead of the police.

Innovations & Expansion

El's success wasn't just about power but also about wisdom. He modified the method of drug movement through the use of aircraft and refined tunnels. This saved him time and minimized his chances of getting caught.

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Rising Of The Mexican Drug Lord

The Tijuana Cartel Rivalry Escalates (1989-1993)

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was a big fight between two powerful gangs in Mexico: the Sinaloa Cartel and the Tijuana Cartel. Everything began with the arrest of Félix Gallardo, the king of the drug business. Then, the Tijuana Cartel, headed by the Arellano Félix brothers and their pals, assumed control of the Tijuana area.

However, the situation was further complicated when Javier Caro Payán, a Tijuana guy, ran to Canada, believing there could be a fight. This infuriated El Chapo, the top dog of the Sinaloa Cartel. He accused the Tijuana gang of all the trouble.

Hence, in 1989, he sent his friend Armando López to talk to them, but Ramón Arellano Félix killed him, which, as a result, worsened things. Then, the Tijuana guys did a cruel thing to Palma, a friend of El Chapo. They killed Palma's wife and children! That made the Sinaloa Cartel really mad. That's why they started kidnapping and killing each other's friends. It turned into a massive war between the two gangs, and bullets and bombs were flying everywhere.

Retaliation & Revenge (1992-1993)

El Chapo and Palma retaliated brutally in 1992, organizing 9 murders in Iguala and shooting lawyers and family members of Félix Gallardo. He was believed to be behind the killings of Palma's family members. Guzmán is said to have also paid off senior police officials to terminate the investigation of the killings mentioned above.

The conflict grew when there were attempts on his life. This was the main reason he had to use a fake identity. In a reprisal attack, gunmen assaulted the Christine discothèque in Puerto Vallarta, killing six people but evading the Arellano Félix brothers.

The violence led to an awful event at Guadalajara International Airport in 1993. The Tijuana Cartel hitmen misunderstood the cardinal's vehicle for one of their targets. It resulted in a shootout. Thereby, the cardinal and 6 others were killed. During the turmoil, he was able to run away. The bloodshed and chaos left behind by the rivalry between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Tijuana Cartel. It did not only affect the cartels themselves but also the lives of innocent people. They became collateral damage to this conflict.

The Great Escape - Flight & First Arrest

In response to the unexpected death of Cardinal Posadas Ocampo, the Mexican federal government launched a huge operation. It aimed at tracking down those connected with the firefight at Guadalajara International Airport. As the pressure mounted on him, El Chapo left and went to different places, suspecting a capture. He began in Tonalá, Jalisco, where he had his ranch.

However, he moved shortly after, to Mexico City, and remained in a hotel for approximately ten days. Realizing the severe danger he was in, he met with his closest partners. He also handed over a huge sum of money to ensure his loved ones' safety. Likewise, he maintained the proper running of the Sinaloa Cartel during his absence.

To escape the police, he acquired a fake passport, using the name Jorge Ramos Pérez. He and his allies managed to flee across the border to Chiapas, from where he planned to travel to El Salvador.

Yet, his plot failed when a Guatemalan military officer, whom he bribed, sold him out to the police. He was detained in the area of Tapachula at a motel by the Guatemalan army on June 9, 1993. He was then extradited to Mexico and taken to a maximum-security prison. Also, he was sentenced to approximately 21 years for various offenses. They include drug trafficking, criminal association, and bribery.

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Life Behind Bars - The Reign Of Guzman Continues

Despite his imprisonment, he still maintained a powerful grip and control over El Chapo's empire. Arturo, El Pollo's brother, who was in charge of the cartel's activities, maintained its work without any interruption. El Chapo and his allies were given the royal treatment in prison. They brought money to grease prison workers' wheels and maintain their luxurious lifestyle.

He even met his old mistress, Zulema Hernández, during his time in jail. She later played a vital role in Sinaloa's expansion into Mexico City. Yet, she spent the rest of her life playing into the hands of Sinaloa's enemies, Los Zetas, who allegedly murdered her in 2008.

El's Drug Empire - The Sinaloa Cartel

The Sinaloa Cartel of Guzmán was like the ruler of all the drug cartels of Mexico. They were beyond rich and powerful. Thus, they smuggled an enormous amount of cocaine from Colombia through Mexico into the United States. They used planes, boats, roads, and even tunnels to hide drugs in fire extinguishers and cans as well.

Besides, they were everywhere in the U.S. selling drugs. Not only cocaine but also methamphetamine, marijuana, and heroin were involved in their business. They were the ones who kept everything drug-related in Mexico.

When the Mexican Army caught his ally Palma in 1995, he seized the lead of the cartel. With the passage of time, Palma was moved to the United States for his misconduct. Following the escape of Guzmán from prison in 2001, he and his friend Zambada García became the main drug lords in Mexico.

The U.S. even considered him as the top drug trafficker worldwide! They also disclosed that he had a friend called Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel Villarreal, who played a role in ensuring things ran smoothly.

Methamphetamine Mastermind - Expansion Of The Empire

Besides cocaine, he saw a significant opportunity in the methamphetamine business as well. When the other heavyweights left, he took the chance and soared to the top. They did the same with their connection Zambada García and set up labs to make meth in Mexico. They even got wise by utilizing already existing routes and spending less on developing new ones.

He went out of his way to bring in chemicals from China, Thailand, and India to produce meth. He spread his empire to where his friend Ignacio was managing the meth business. They were like the kings of the drug world together. They managed to make billions of dollars and expand their empire.

El's Prison Break

In 2001, he staged a great escape from a Mexican prison. He was being accused in both Mexico and the United States of drug trafficking and money laundering. Using the bribed guards, he managed to escape through a laundry cart.

The jailer wheeled him out, and he vanished into the night, shocking everyone. The plan was so well devised that almost 80 people were engaged in it, including prison officials who were bribed by him.

The Hunt Began To Track Chapo

Following the great escape, he emerged as the most wanted man in Mexico. The hunt started, but authorities could not find him. Despite many attempts to catch him, he had always stayed one step ahead of the law for over ten years. He was said to have escaped to the mountains of the "Golden Triangle," the legendary place of drug cultivation and mountainous terrain. He had a network of spies and gunmen who were difficult for authorities to trace.

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The Arrest At The Beachfront

As the years went by, his luck of evading capture started to fade in 2014. The DEA and the U.S. Marshals Service provided intelligence to Mexican authorities. They finally found him at a hotel in Mazatlán. The undertaking, carried out by the Mexican Navy, comprised at least 65 Marines and took place in the early hours of the day.

He was caught in a condo, where he tried to fight the arrest but was finally handcuffed and taken away. The tempting detention signified the end of his era as the top-wanted man in Mexico.

Legal Fights & Extradition Requests

Following his detention, he was accused of a string of crimes both in Mexico and the United States. Initially, a temporary suspension was granted to stop the immediate extradition. However, the Mexican courts later denied the request, leaving the exile possible. Still, the Mexican authorities declared their intention to get him first to face charges in Mexico.

His defense team answered by filing many requests to stop their client's exile. The drug lord was facing legal battles in both countries. Besides, the threat of facing conviction in both Mexico and the United States was still present.

Second Great Escape

He managed yet one more escape from prison in 2015. He used the tunnel from his shower room in his cell to a construction site 1.5 miles away, which was equipped with lighting, air ducts, and even a motorcycle. The escape gave rise to a big manhunt, and the authorities looked everywhere to find him. In addition to efforts to catch the criminal, his escape raised doubts about the corruption and security of the Mexican government.

Arrest In Cambodia

When the time came for the Mexican government to deal with him, they resorted to a couple of retired Colombian police generals to provide help. They were Roso José Serrano and Luis Enrique Montenegro. Their services were vital as they were popular for fighting cartels in Colombia. They exchanged their secrets, such as organizing search squads and intelligence augmentation. They allow Mexican authorities to intercept El.

Third Time Capture!

El surprised everybody again when he pulled off another jaw-dropping escape in 2016! This time, he was hiding for a while and was found in a house in Los Mochis, a city in Mexico. However, he did it again through a hidden tunnel, just as in the movies! He stole a car at gunpoint and used it to get away.

But the good guys didn't give up. They pursued him, but when they finally caught up with him, El opted to bribe them! For this purpose, he promised them cash, houses, and even jobs if they would set him free. When they said no, he scared them, saying they were all going to die. They took him into custody and presented him to the Marines.

Got Justice In The USA

Once he had exhausted all his bold break-outs and adventures, he faced US authorities. The US had been after him for a while with charges in many cities such as Chicago, New York, and Miami. In fact, they promised not to give him the death penalty if he was found guilty of murder.

On January 19, 2017, El was deported to the US to face trial. He was handed over to agents from the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). They shoved him into the New York jail called the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

He claimed he was not guilty at the trial, but the judges didn't believe him. They found him guilty of all charges on February 12, 2019. Thus, they gave him a really long sentence: life in prison plus 30 years. The hard part, however, was that he had to give up more than $12.6 billion. They sent him to the prison at ADX Florence, where the big criminals are kept. It was the end of the world for El Chapo's crazy adventure.

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Sources Of El Chapo Net Worth 2024 To Make His Drug Empire

See the sources of El Chapo's net worth 2024 and how he collected his income.

Drug Trafficking - Cocaine Heroin & Methamphetamine

This powerful drug trafficker earned a great deal of his income by dealing with drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. He was in charge of a notable portion of the drug trafficking from Mexico to the United States. He bought drugs from producers and sold them at a higher price in the U.S. Many people bought drugs from him, so his business thrived.

Extortion & Protection Rackets

El got money in the same way by forcing people to pay him, too. He thus resorted to violence if they didn't give him any money. For example, he could tell a business owner: "Pay me money every month, or you and your business will be hurt." This is the same thing as extortion. He also delivered "protection" to others who would pay him money so that he wouldn't hurt them or their businesses.

Kidnapping & Ransom

On some occasions, he did kidnap rich or important people and hence ordered very high sums of money to release them. It is as if someone kidnaps you without your consent and asks for some money in return for your freedom. El and his gang would hide the person until the family or friends paid what they required. It's a scary and terrible thing to do, and it's how El Chapo boosted his revenue.

Money Laundering

While El was getting money from illegal activities such as drug trafficking, he couldn't just deposit it in the bank because it seemed suspicious. Thus, he went for money laundering. He resorted to different methods to make it look like the illegal money was going to legal channels. They include buying properties or opening up dummy businesses. In this way, he used the money without being arrested by police officers.

Network Of Corruption

El and his group also committed corruption. They bribed or paid off officials, like the police and government officers. They tried to pay off police officers and authorities so that they would not interfere with Chapo's drug business. This allowed him to continue in business, escaping the law for a very long time, ultimately increasing El Chapo's wealth.

Real Estate

Guzmán lost six of his homes when Mexican authorities captured him. They attempted to sell the houses at an auction in November 2019, thinking they'd get at least a million for each. But surprise! They only had $64,589, $107,530, and $55,725 left for them.

Future Of El Chapo

Nowadays, he lives in jail in the USA for the rest of his life. However, despite being in federal prison, his sons are involved in illegal trade, like selling drugs and doing other dirty work. He can leave his criminal life and forbid his sons as well. He can order his sons to spend his money on charity. By doing so, his sentence may be decreased.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Is El's Successor?

Zambada, who was his partner, took over the Sinaloa Cartel when he was caught in 2016. Today, he is taking the role of a top boss in the cartel.

What Is The Meaning Of "El Chapo"?

The meaning of "El Chapo" is "shorty" in English. It is often used in Mexico as a nickname for short people.

Which Is The Largest Drug Organization In The World?

The Sinaloa drug cartel represents the most influential and powerful drug organization.


El Chapo became an international criminal in the eyes of many world citizens. It is because of his role in spreading massive quantities of drugs into the United States. The most common among them was cocaine.

He won't be causing any more trouble for a life sentence to supermax prison. Yet even though he's locked up, the legacy of his name is still alive. It is because his sons are trying to perpetuate his illegal business.

Zambada has been in charge of the Sinaloa cartel after the original kingpin after Chapo was arrested. Even though El Chapo net worth 2024 is huge, his life shows that crime never pays.

Emma James

A distinguished writer with an impressive 8-year track record of contributing to various prominent informational websites.

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