MEXICO CITY — From his naming on the Forbes magazine list of the world’s richest billionaires, to his frequent supposed sightings and magical escapes, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been a larger-than-life drug lord who reached mythical proportions in Mexican “narco” folklore.
He rose from a simple low-level trafficker from Sinaloa, the cradle of Mexico’s opium and marijuana trade, to become the nation’s most powerful and elusive fugitive.
For Mexicans, the capture of Guzman, reported Saturday to have occurred in a joint operation by Mexican marines and U.S. federal agents in the Sinaloan coastal city of Mazatlan, is somewhat akin to Colombia’s killing of Pablo Escobar — or even the U.S. elimination of Osama bin Laden.
His luxurious life on the run was the stuff of legend. More than once, he was reported to have entered a fancy restaurant, ordered cellphones confiscated, dined lavishly, then picked up everyone’s check.
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