The Myth, The Legend, The Star? Why We Should Examine El Chapo’s Influence Beyond His Prison Breaks

By Desire Thompson


oaquin “El Chapo” Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, head of the dangerous Sinaloa cartel and former public enemy number one, was recaptured by Mexican authorities last Friday with a possible year-long extradition process to the United States to follow.

The drug lord was on the run for six months after escaping from prison in July, his second jailbreak since 2001. While the world seemed to know little about El Chapo, his influence has remained just as far-reaching as the man himself.

Growing up on a rural farm in Mexico cultivating poppy and marijuana at the tender age of 9, the 58-year-old is now considered the new face behind America’s ongoing war on drugs.

Many have wondered one thing; despite his uncanny ability to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time, how does his influence affect the world today? We literally watched this play out in the mere hours following his recapture.

A secret meeting between American actor Sean Penn and Mexican actress Kate del Castillo (Mexican authorities say they tracked the phone of a member from El Chapo’s camp), a tell-all Rolling Stone interview, and a plot that seemed to come right out of Pablo Escobar’s playbook helped locate the kingpin.

El Chapo’s influence goes beyond just Hollywood. Check out how the former farmer firmly stamped his footprint on society below.


El Chapo’s presence in America can be traced to one of the country’s biggest areas of gun violence —Chicago. The drug lord used his connections with Larry Hoover’s Gangster Disciples and the Latin Kings to traffic cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, and heroin. It’s a disturbing cycle that other traffickers have taken part in, but the crime coming out of Chicago is now on the tip of every conversation about drugs in America. The city is also the fifth largest Spanish-populated area in the country, with …read more