El Chapo, 61, is the highest profile Mexican drug cartel boss to stand trial in the US to date. El Chapo (or “Shorty”) ran the Sinaloa cartel in northern Mexico, one of the most notorious drug trafficking gangs in history. He has yet to be sentenced, but the guilty verdict could mean life in maximum security prison.
He was arrested in January 2016 after escaping from a Mexican prison through a tunnel five months earlier, and extradited to the UK in 2017.
After an 11-week trial, El Chapo was convicted on counts including the distribution of cocaine and heroin, illegal firearms possession and money laundering.
Prosecutors say the Sinaloa cartel was the biggest supplier of drugs to the US, contributing to the drug war in Mexico which has resulted in an estimated 100,000 deaths over the last decade.
El Chapo was accused of assisting the export of hundreds of tonnes of cocaine into the US, as well as using hitmen to carry out “hundreds” of murders, assaults, kidnappings and acts of torture on rivals.
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The trial also revealed shocking details of his life, including the drugging and raping of girls as young as 13.
What was his net worth?
In 2009, El Chapo entered Forbes’ list of the world’s richest men at number 701, with an estimated worth of $1bn (£775m).
In 2017, that figure soared to an estimated $14bn (£10.8bn), but that figure is questionable.
Bruce M. Bagley, an expert on Mexico’s drug cartels at the University of Miami, told Forbes in 2017: “Expenses are running high, his lieutenants are increasingly greedy and disloyal.
“His children now control his wealth and split it among themselves.
“Nonetheless, I have no doubt that he is still a billionaire as of 2016. Guesstimate: $2-$4 billion at most.”
What will happen with his money?
It’s unclear where his fortune is now or what authorities will do with it.
But some have their own ideas – Ted Cruz, Texas Senator, tweeted it should “go towards funding our wall” – referring to President Donald Trump’s long-promised border wall with Mexico.
According to a Fox News report, money seized by a federal agency stays at the federal level.
The report said up to 70 percent of seized cash and assets come back to a local agency after they make a bust.
The remaining 30 percent stays with the district attorney’s office.
The cash, as well as money from seized assets, are deposited into an asset forfeiture fund at the Department of Justice or the Department of Treasury, depending on the agency making the bust.