Last Updated: April 18, 2024
Richest BusinessCriminals
Net Worth:
$1 Billion
Apr 4, 1957 (67 years old)
5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Drug lord
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What is El Chapo's Net Worth?

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán is a Mexican former drug kingpin who had a peak net worth of $1 billion. Joaquín Guzmán Loera is the former head of the Sinaloa Drug Cartel. During his reign, he oversaw drug trafficking between Mexico and the U.S. on an extraordinarily large scale. At the peak of his power, El Chapo was the world's largest smuggler of cocaine shipments between Colombia and the United States, often employing the use of tunnels and hiding drugs in cans or fire extinguishers. He also smuggled vast quantities of heroin, methamphetamines, and marijuana.

Throughout the '80s, El Chapo ran logistics for the Guadalajara and Sinaloa cartels. Drugs, mainly cocaine but some heroin, were produced in Colombia and delivered to Mexico. El Chapo became an expert at organizing airplanes, boats, trains, and trucks to carry drugs into the United States and Europe. When the cartel's top leaders were arrested, Guzmán took control. In the late 80s and early 90s, the cartel also began manufacturing meth within Mexico. El Chapo was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and sentenced to 20 years in a Mexican prison. He successfully managed to bribe several guards and escaped in 2001. Despite there being a $5 million bounty on his head from American law enforcement, Guzmán managed to elude capture for more than a decade. He was finally arrested in 2014, and in July 2015, he escaped from prison again and went on the run until he was captured in January 2016. In 2019, he was found guilty of a number of criminal charges and was sentenced to life in jail.

Early Life

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán was born Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera on April 4, 1957, in La Tuna, Badiraguato Municipality, Sinaloa, Mexico. Guzmán grew up with mother María, father Emilio (a cattle rancher), and younger siblings Armida, Bernarda, Aureliano, Miguel Ángel, Emilio, and Arturo. Joaquin also had three older brothers who passed away when he was a child. When he was in third grade, Guzmán dropped out of school to work for his father, who beat him on a regular basis.

Like many residents in his rural town, Joaquin cultivated small amounts of opium poppy and marijuana to make a little bit of extra money, and at age 15, he began growing marijuana plants. After Emilio kicked Joaquin out of the family's home, he lived with his grandfather.

Standing at 5 foot 6 inches tall, Guzmán earned the nickname "El Chapo" (which means "Shorty") as an adolescent. In his twenties, Guzmán left Badiraguato with the help of his uncle, drug trafficker Pedro Avilés Pérez, and he became involved in organized crime.

Drug Business

Joaquin worked for drug lord Héctor "El Güero" Palma in the 1970s, transporting and overseeing drug shipments from the Sierra Madre area to locations near the U.S.-Mexico border. El Chapo often used violence in his business dealings, and when shipments arrived late, he would shoot the smuggler in the head. He began working as a chauffeur for Félix Gallardo of the Guadalajara Cartel in the early 1980s, then was promoted to head of logistics. After Félix was arrested in 1989 for murdering a DEA agent, the cartel's territories were divided up, and Guzmán became one of the leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel, along with Palma and Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada. Joaquin caught the attention of U.S. authorities in 1987, and later, an indictment was issued in Arizona, stating that he had been responsible for shipping 2,000 kg of marijuana and 4,700 kg of cocaine between fall 1987 and spring 1990. From 1989 to 1993, the Sinaloa Cartel was involved in a feud with the Tijuana Cartel that resulted in numerous deaths, including Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo, Guadalajara's cardinal and archbishop, who was shot 14 times when gunmen from the Tijuana Cartel were trying to kill El Chapo. The Mexican government went on a mission to arrest everyone involved in the shootout that killed Cardinal Posadas Ocampo, and though Joaquin hid out in several different cities, he was arrested in Guatemala on June 9, 1993. At the time of El Chapo's arrest, the Sinaloa Cartel was Mexico's richest, most powerful cartel.


Arrests, Escapes, and Prosecution

Guzmán was charged with drug trafficking, bribery, and criminal association and received a sentence of 20 years and nine months in prison. He began serving his sentence at Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1, but he was transferred to Federal Center for Social Rehabilitation No. 2 in late 1995. In January 2001, Joaquin bribed some guards and escaped from prison by hiding in a laundry cart; nearly 80 people reportedly were involved in his escape. It took authorities 13 years to find El Chapo, and they finally arrested him in February 2014 at a hotel in Mazatlán, Mexico. He was taken to Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1, where he spent 23 hours per day in solitary confinement. Guzmán escaped from prison again in July 2015, this time through a tunnel in the shower area. The Federal Police arrested him in a stolen vehicle in January 2016, and after receiving a tip that dozens of assassins were en route to free El Chapo, the police took him to a motel to wait for backup and later handed him over to the Marines. Joaquin was taken back to Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1, then extradited to the United States, where he was wanted in several states, in January 2017. In the U.S., Guzmán faced numerous charges, including kidnapping, murder, money laundering, and drug trafficking, and he was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years in July 2019.

Personal Life

Joaquin married Alejandrina María Salazar Hernández in 1977, and they welcomed at least three children (Jesús Alfredo, César, and Iván Archivaldo) together before splitting up. He later wed Estela Peña, a bank clerk he once kidnapped, and he married Griselda López Pérez in the mid-1980s and had four children (Griselda Guadalupe, Joaquín Jr., Ovidio, and Édgar) with her. In 2007, Guzmán wed Emma Coronel Aispuro, an American beauty queen who was just 18 years old, and she gave birth to twins Emali Guadalupe and Maria Joaquina four years later. El Chapo's sons followed in their father's footsteps and went into the drug business, and Édgar was murdered in 2008. Guzmán's brother Arturo was murdered in 2004, gunned down in prison by Ramírez Villanueva, reportedly in retaliation for Rodolfo Fuentes' murder.

In May 2023, the United States sanctioned El Chapo's son Joaquin Jr., three members of the Sinaloa cartel, and two Mexican firms for trafficking fentanyl and other drugs into the U.S.

Real Estate

The Mexican government confiscated six homes after Guzmán's arrest, and they sold three of them at an auction in November 2019. Though they were hoping to sell each home for $1 million or more, the homes sold for $107,530, $64,589, and $55,725.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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