El Chapo's winding road from mountain village to drug lord to US prison

 | Updated: Jul 17, 2019, 10:56 PM IST

Mexican drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, who rose from humble origins to lead the Sinaloa Cartel, one of the world's most powerful drug trafficking gangs, was sentenced to life in a US prison on Wednesday. Here some key events in his rise and ultimate downfall

APRIL 4, 1957

Joaquin Guzman is born in La Tuna, Mexico, a village in the Sierra Madre mountains of Sinaloa state. As a teenager, US prosecutors have said, he joined what was already an established industry there by cultivating marijuana and growing poppies for heroin production.

This is the date the US government uses, though there is some discrepancy.



Guzman rises through the ranks of the illegal drug business under the tutelage of Sinaloan kingpin Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, alias 'The Boss of Bosses,' who pioneered cocaine smuggling routes into the United States.

Along the way, he acquires the nickname, 'El Chapo,' which loosely translates into 'Shorty,' a reference to his stocky 5-foot, 6-inch (1.67-metre) frame.



Guzman is arrested in Guatemala and extradited to Mexico two weeks after hired gunmen killed a Roman Catholic cardinal they mistook for him. He was sentenced to prison but used his money to make his stay more comfortable, with lovers, prostitutes and Viagra, according to accounts published in the Mexican media.



Guzman stages his first breakout from a prison in western Mexico, purportedly in a laundry cart with the assistance of prison officials whom he had bribed.



While on the loose, Guzman marries Emma Coronel, then an 18-year-old beauty queen, in a village in Durango state in an ostentatious ceremony. She gave birth to twins in a Los Angeles hospital in 2011. The two are still married.


February 22, 2014

Guzman is captured without incident in a predawn raid on a seaside condominium in Sinaloa.



Guzman again escapes from a maximum-security prison, this time using a tunnel more than a mile (1.6 km) long that began in the bathroom in his cell.


January 8, 2016

Mexican marines, with the help of the US Marshals Service and agents of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, recapture Guzman after six months on the lam in a violent standoff after an early morning raid at a roadside motel in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, that left five people dead.


January 19, 2017

Mexican authorities turn Guzman over to US law enforcement agents who bring him to New York in a small jet. A day later he appears in a US court in Brooklyn and pleads not guilty to 17 criminal counts that he ran the world's largest drug-trafficking organisation.


November 13, 2018

Under heavy security, and after some jurors were excused because they were afraid, prosecutors and defense attorneys make opening statements as Guzman's trial gets underway.


February 12, 2019

A federal jury in Brooklyn convicts Guzman of all 10 of the drug-related charges brought against him, capping an 11-week trial that heard testimony from more than 50 prosecution witnesses.