8 crazy facts about drug lord Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzman


Luis Guzman not playing Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman

Luis Guzman as Bitterman in the 2011 comedy ‘Arthur.’

  • Although Guzman’s nickname is “El Chapo” (Spanish for “Shorty”), at 5 feet, 6 inches tall, he’s not the shortest Mexican drug lord ever. That honor goes to Pepe “El Mosquito” Sanchez, head of the feared Chihuahua Cartel, who measured just over 18 inches tall when he was crushed to death in 1993 by a falling stack of dollar bills.
  • After getting a degree in marijuana cultivation from the Instituto Tecnológico de Culiacán in 1974, Guzman began a doctoral program in drug distribution but was never awarded a PhD because he had his advisor murdered after suspecting him of overseeing another student’s dissertation.
  • Guzman’s first attempt to launch his own cartel in 1979 failed when his marketing team persuaded him to adopt the slogan “Popeye el Marino esnifa la cocaina” (“Popeye the Sailor Man sniffs cocaine”) leading to a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by King Features that left Guzman bankrupt.
  • Ten years of going door-to-door selling single puffs off joints and mere thimblefuls of cocaine ended when, in 1988, Guzman was a competitor in the television program “¿Quién Quiere Ser Un Capo Narco?” (“Who Wants To Be a Drug Lord?”). He won and became instantly famous. Troubles arose, however, when at the end of the second season he refused to give up his title. A judge ordered Guzman to give back the drug lord crown but instead of complying, he went on the run. The rest is history.
  • Whenever Guzman learned through his network of informants that the police were hot on the trail, he would avoid arrest by cleverly disguising himself as a corrupt politician.
  • During the 17 months he spent in prison after his capture in 2014, Guzman reportedly lived like a king. A king confined to a small prison cell, forced to use communal showers, eat crappy food, and wash his own clothes, but a king nonetheless.
  • To his fans, Guzman symbolizes Robin Hood. Now why they think of a fearsome cartel boss as one who wears green tights and speaks English in a medieval Yorkshire accent is beyond us.
  • While the precise date is up for debate, Guzman and his associates actually won the drug war sometime in the middle of the last decade.
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