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Because Joaquín Guzmán grew up poor in a rural area, he began selling marijuana in elementary school. By age 15, he was his family's primary breadwinner. ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images
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He was first recognized on Forbes' list of billionaires in 2009. At the time, his cartel was responsible for supplying nearly half of America's drugs. Flickr
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Because the Sinaloa Cartel transported more than 4,000 pounds of cocaine into Chicago each month, Guzmán was the first criminal to be named "Public Enemy No. 1" in the city since Al Capone. Wikimedia Commons
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His most recent wife was American-born beauty queen Emma Coronel. They first met during her 17th birthday party because her father was one of Guzmán's cartel officers. Telemundo/YouTube
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He ordered his wife to travel to the U.S. to give birth so that he would have "anchor babies" and a new secure foothold in the country.Telemundo/YouTube
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Authorities tried to stop his wife from entering the U.S. to give birth, but had no formal charges that they could file. So, she succeeded in giving birth inside the U.S. but left the father's name blank on the birth certificate.Univision/YouTube
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Guzmán's drug empire eventually grew to a massive size with operations linking five continents. DEA
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Joaquín Guzmán had a lover in prison who was a former police officer. Zulema Hernandez was in prison for aiding drug traffickers and developed a romance with Guzmán. She was later murdered after her release from prison. Mexico National Security Commission
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El Chapo's first prison break involved up to 78 accomplices and bribes totaling around $2.5 million. Manuel Velasquez/LatinContent/Getty Images
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His second prison break involved using a motorcycle to journey through an escape tunnel. Telemundo/YouTube
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Joaquín Guzmán has been known to get into flame wars via Twitter, including one with Donald Trump. In 2015, Guzmán told him, "I'm going to make you eat your words."Wikimedia Commons
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An attempt was made on El Chapo's life in 1993 when assassins fired rounds into a car they believed to be his at a Guadalajara airport. Seven people were killed — but El Chapo wasn't even in the car. AFP/AFP/Getty Images
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El Chapo built a large home for his mother, Consuelo Loera, with his earnings. PBS/YouTube
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He's become a pretty popular topic for songwriters. But instead of being condemned, his life has been romanticized in Narcocorrido ballads, a kind of folk music from Northern Mexico. Wikimedia Commons
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He's been called the "Osama bin Laden of drug-trafficking" because of his ruthless methods and elusive ability to hide from law enforcement.Telemundo/YouTube
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As a free man, El Chapo would pick up the check for everybody whenever he went to restaurants. Patrons had no choice but to accept the offer — because they weren't allowed to leave the restaurant until after he paid. Univision/YouTube
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In one of these reported incidents, El Chapo's henchman was said to have entered a restaurant before him and announced: "Gentlemen, please. Give me a moment of your time. A man is going to come in, the boss. We ask that you remain in your seats; the doors will close and nobody is allowed to leave. You will also not be allowed to use your cellulars. Do not worry; if you do everything that is asked of you, nothing will happen. Continue eating and don't ask for your check. The boss will pay."STR/AFP/Getty Images
30 Absurd Facts About El Chapo, The Most Feared Drug Lord In Mexican History
If you were to lay out the facts of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's life, you'd think they were ripped from the pages of a Hollywood movie script: assassination attempts, worldwide domination of the illegal drug trade, prison escapes, and encounters with movie stars deep in the jungle.
It would all be extremely hard to believe if there wasn't hard evidence to back it up. But the fact is that Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's life has been far from ordinary, even by drug lord standards.
Nicknamed "El Chapo" ("Shorty" in Spanish) for his 5'6" frame, Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera began his journey to the top of the drug world in his early teens as a successful marijuana dealer in the 1970s.
He eventually moved up to cocaine dealing in western Mexico under the guidance of drug kingpin Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo. It was after Gallardo's capture in the 1980s that Guzmán truly stepped up to the big leagues of international drug trafficking and expanded the notorious Sinaloa Cartel.
Before long, Guzmán was making a name for himself as one of the country's most powerful drug traffickers — and putting himself on the radar of both Mexican and U.S. law enforcement agencies in the process.
Soon, Guzmán would spend eight years in prison during the 1990s before escaping in 2001. But even when he was behind bars, his cartel continued to grow in power. In the decade following his escape, he rose to the level of infamy of historic kingpins like Pablo Escobar. And at one point, he was responsible for trafficking nearly a quarter of the world's illegal drugs.
But he fell from that perch after being captured by police in 2014. Though he managed to escape again, he was soon recaptured in 2016. From that point onward, he has remained in custody in the United States.
However, even though Joaquín Guzmán has now been caught, his shocking and disturbing legacy will probably never fade away. Discover the most unbelievable facts about his life in the gallery above.
Joel Stice holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with more than 10 years of experience in writing and editing, during which time his work has appeared on Heavy, Uproxx, and Buzzworthy.