August 6th, 2009
06:58 PM ET

The king of Mexican drug lords: "El Chapo"

Program Note: Tune in tonight for more about the war next door. Michael Ware reports on Joaquin Guzman Leora (also knows as "El Chapo"). He was on Forbes Magazine's annual wealthiest people list earlier this year. He's also on the FBI's Most Wanted list. Authorities say his $1 billion dollars is derived from cocaine trafficking.


Michael Ware interviews Lawyer Antonio Ortega, one of the only people who has met Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and is brave enough to talk about it.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/06/art.vert.chapo.jpg caption="This July 10, 1993 file photo shows Mexican Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka El Chapo, at La Palma prison in Almoloya of Juarez. " width=292 height=320]

Filed under: 360° Radar • Mexico
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. ann staley

    Gino August 6th, 2009 8:06 pm ET

    "Well, If these drug guys are really a problem and the U.S. is spending lots of money. WHY don’t they tell Mexico, “No more money for you” and Send the CIA, and the Navy Seals and find these jokers once and for all. Because it is not only Mexico’s problem. Mexico needs to give the U.S. jurisdiction to sent special forces. They can get the CIA to locate all these people and then sent the Navy Seals to get them."

    Ever heard of Iran/Contra? CIA caught bringing drugs into US? Drugs for guns for Iran? CIA should be the last people to be sent in.

    If my other comment about legalization is not preferred, then how about a coalition of nations to fight the war on drugs?

    But i still believe as long as our government officials can be bribed, paid off, and there is any profit for them–they will keep the cartels and drug lords in power.

    August 7, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  2. ann staley

    Just as in the prohibition days where mobsters and bootleggers made fortunes and also gunned down people in the streets:
    as long as drugs are illegal the war will continue and grow. It is us Americans demand which creates the supply need. If people choose to drink or do drugs then so be it. Take the crime out of it and you take the cartels out. The 35+ yr long drug war has been lost.
    time for some new ideas, laws, and reform.

    August 7, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  3. nino

    free El chapo! why would mexico declare a war on drugs. #1 the drugs are leaving the country #2 mexico is a very poor country & now your stopping a million dollar resource. Now the cartel cant make money in the drug trade so now their other options are robbing,kidnapping & killing their own.(sounds good if your american). mexico needs to stop trying to be like the united states by worrying about other country's problems,1st fix your own! Start being mexicans instead of mexicant's. & as for you cartels reading this...stop fighting each other,work together, there is no competition, the united states has a nose big enough to snort up the whole country of colombia. VIVA LA REVOLUTION !

    August 7, 2009 at 8:05 am |
  4. Dean D. Ellis Lake Worth, Florida

    Most Americans are of the opinion that the majority of the world’s “Drug Lords” live in the countries of Mexico, Colombia, Panama, Afghanistan, and just about every country other than the United States. Some of the people responding here have indicated that we should send American soldiers to countries other than the United States. I wholeheartedly disagree with any policy that would put more American lives at risk. The cost of training any member of our elite forces is very high. The training that is involved takes a tremendous toll on every person that enters into these elite forces programs. Death and disabling injuries from the training itself is a daily risk for these brave soldiers. They are called “special” because they are. They are highly motivated, highly trained, and there are just so many of them.
    This country has been engaged in a “War on Drugs” for decades and there is no cease fire or surrender of the oppressors looming on the horizon. If we are going after any “Drug Lords” I would suggest going after the ones that are in the United States and Mexico at the same time by disrupting the entire pipeline at once. But we are probably doing that each and every day. Let us not forget that we had to call upon the assistance of Canada during the era of prohibition. We should not condemn Mexico for failing at the same task that we have failed to accomplish domestically.
    The deaths and costs associated with these “Drug Wars” are incalculable and the drain on our nation’s economy supersedes the entire GDP of many countries and the toll associated with many “shooting wars”. Others have commented that the blame lies with the users located in this country. I agree wholeheartedly. In my opinion this tremendous upswing of unparalleled violence is nothing more than a byproduct of our “War on Drugs”. The commitment of these Mexican patriots whom have taken up arms in this struggle is truly an act of selfless service to their country, our country, and the entire world. All involved face assassination, kidnapping, and torture. The same holds true for their families and friends.
    Perhaps an increase in drug abuse awareness, recovery programs, and counseling in this country may help to alleviate the number of buyers/users. We must ask ourselves if our two-pronged assault must be re-evaluated, reinforced, and or “reinvented”. No forthright general would prosecute a war for such a prolonged period of time without either changing tactics or as is the usual sad result, being replaced.
    Providing monetary and logistical support to the Mexican forces and government is nothing less than addressing a matter of national security to the United States and Mexico. This is a shooting war and as is normal in such conflicts, the innocents suffer the most and I can provide no solution that would be suitable for print and I also look forward to this segment.

    August 7, 2009 at 7:01 am |
  5. Victoria Mathis

    I wish our counrty was doing allot more to put a stop to all drug lords. Just line them all up on a wall and end their days. Think of all the people who have due to drug overdoses... The Drug kingpins must go away. We should stop sending guns overthere and send our soilders to use their guns. Yes, Give Mexico whatever they need to end this war.
    Money,military equipment and soilders. This fight is closer to home and effects more Americans than Iraq ever did.
    Not saying the 911 war was worthless though.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:31 am |

    Angloamerican's STOP demanding coca(white), the problem is here in the STATES, "STOP CONSUMING", and there wouldnt be problems like the one's we here about every day.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:22 am |
  7. @420

    Technically I think I agree with Endo. I can not view the segment but hope that Mr Ware has also looked at the reasons men like Guzman come to exist. About maybe how the US and it's war on drugs, along with the massive state, federal, and international monetary and personal costs that have gone on for 40 years or so have put these types of men where they are. All these years without achieving any type of beneficial result. Guzman couldn't get a job for CNN if the US ended probation on drugs. This is something that is ready for change.

    There are actually so many reasons you could do a show on it every week, sell heaps of advertising, and maybe change the political and personal future of the country and world. But you probably won't keep anyone interested long enough so why worry?

    To Gino, see somebody and talk about it. And stop watching so many DVD's.

    To Annie and Brasso, you better be Michael's kids.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:04 am |
  8. Elias

    It is very interesting to see how most comments are polarized when in fact we need both. I do agree that the Mexican government is probably not equiped with the ability to deal with these gangs. The main reason is the corruption. But economics certainly play a part. How can you tell a police chief, who is just a bullet away from being a casualty himself and who earns perhaps $500/month not to help narcos who offer him $10,000/month OR death. I don't know that me sitting here 2000 miles away can truly say that I have what it takes to say, I'll take my $500 and my chances...and my family's chances. There are many good honest people in Mexico, but the corruption is so pervasive and the economics so adverse that even for truly good people is IMPOSSIBLE to battle the cartels.

    For that reason I do agree that the U.S. should lend it's military expertise, be allowed in to clean up the mess. There are two big problems with that approach however, first, Mexican sovereignty should by respected because there would CERTAINLY be many innocent casualties and second after the job was done, unless stricter penalties were imposed on USERS here in the U.S., the cartels would certainly just move on to Canada, the Caribean, or somewhere else.

    The U.S. has a long history of ignoring other countries sovereignty's, Iraq being the latest in the list. If U.S. forces, DEA, Seals, or whoever were to go in, there would be many innocent victims in the process, just as there were during the FBI's clean-up incursions of the Mob in our own country–read our own history and you'd be amazed at how many "human rights" violations the FBI perpetrated during the 50's, 60's and 70's as it fought (and successfully dismantled) the more pervasive clans of the Mob. Unless there was a clear and mutually respecful accord between the two countries, sending U.S. enforcent agent would end up in a huge fiasco for both countires and would do more damage to their relationship than good.

    But assuming that the U.S. did go in and was successful in cleaning up the gangs and reducing them to a "manageable" level–let's not kid ourselves, we have not cleaned up the Mob in our own country but have only kept it to a "manageable" level. As long as Americans are willing and continue to pay billions for their addicitive appetite, new gangs would just setup somewhere else. The U.S. should either impose stricter penalties for users or give up and legalize drugs. The enforcement approach has been to try to go after the dealers and not the users, but we catch a dealer, who has a long line of guys behind him waiting to replace him, while millions of users continue to produce an aggregate demand that contributes billions of dollars to the drug lords. Kick the user hard from the very first use and I bet most people would not have a desiere to "experiment", also to heck with free speech and impose strict restrictions on movies, TV, Music, and other media that trivialize and advertise drug use as cool, acceptable, or worst, funny!

    If we can't do that than let's legalize it and create "houses" where people can go to consume their drugs, don't let them out until the effects are gone, and if some one wants to remain there and waste his life, keep enough hearses nearby to carry the bodies of the USERS away rather than have them cause the deaths of innocent men, women or children in Mexico or elsewhere.

    I'm certain that my proposals will cause very strong reactions in all sort of directions, but then again, that's my point, this is not a linear unidimensional problem. The ascent of drug lords and the pervasive use of drugs are all evidences of moral decadence and lack of moral fortitude. I am over forty years old and have never so much as "only inhaled". I'm thankful for having been brought up that way. I hope I can likewise cultivate in my children what my parents instilled in me that has kept me away from any of those destructive substances. In the end, I really think that that's where the drug war will be won, within the walls of our homes, one individual at a time.

    August 7, 2009 at 1:21 am |
  9. TLIMS

    CIA? Navy Seals? Let me share the fundamental law of economics: no demand, no supply. Do you get it?

    August 7, 2009 at 12:22 am |
  10. TLIMS

    CIA? Navy Seals? Oh please... Let me share the most basic law of economics: no demand.. no supply. Get the message?

    August 7, 2009 at 12:21 am |
  11. C A

    Is this the guy who escape from jail when the president Fox took over ?

    August 7, 2009 at 12:07 am |
  12. Cole

    We're not even going to comment or touch this subject until we have gathered more information and facts.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  13. Ricardo from Chicago

    Keep up the good work Chapo Guzman! The gringos demand the drugs and the Sinaloa Cartel is there to supply. CNN has reported that the American border makes no difference to drug cartels. Why the hell would it? This is a problem for both countries. The DEA doesn't have the ability or the means to take down the cartels let alone Los Zetas.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:30 pm |
  14. Karen

    Michael Ware's in-the-trenches analysis of the Iraqi situation has been second to none, so no doubt his reporting on the war next door (fueled by the USA appetite for drugs) will be an eye opener.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:28 pm |
  15. Joe G. (Illinois)

    And that’s why American consumes drugs.. Because there is that guy who is the captain of a drug cartel.. Yep..! It makes sense.. “American style..”

    August 6, 2009 at 9:20 pm |
  16. N. Manetavat

    The best way to eliminate drug user is to stop the users. No comsummers no sellers. Should learn from Singapore swystems.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:15 pm |
  17. mando

    may..not made!! sorry

    August 6, 2009 at 9:11 pm |
  18. mando

    no one is going be able to stop violence in this world not no DEA,FBI,CIA no one! cnn does a great job by reporting it and informs us well about our surroundings! el chapo made "God" have mercy on him and the violence all around the world not just "MEXICO".peace,love,faith,wisdom...........

    August 6, 2009 at 8:57 pm |
  19. Annie Kate

    This should be one great report since Michael Ware is doing it – he's not afraid to ask the hard questions over and over until he gets an answer. Looking forward to this segment.

    August 6, 2009 at 8:42 pm |
  20. Gino

    Well, If these drug guys are really a problem and the U.S. is spending lots of money. WHY don't they tell Mexico, "No more money for you" and Send the CIA, and the Navy Seals and find these jokers once and for all. Because it is not only Mexico's problem. Mexico needs to give the U.S. jurisdiction to sent special forces. They can get the CIA to locate all these people and then sent the Navy Seals to get them.

    August 6, 2009 at 8:06 pm |
  21. RayLinportland

    There a Businessman i would like to meet!

    August 6, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  22. Endo

    This 'chapo' or 'drug lord'... Well, I mean this man called Joaquin Guzman is only a 'manufacture' of the 'american way of life'... Yes! If the anglo-americans did not consume drugs like crazy, this man would mean crap! There's a WAR just next door!; and no one, in this media society, seems to understand the reality of this fact... Blaming mexicans or colombians for drugtrafficking, when in actualilty the angloamericans are the true culprits of all this 'culture' of mayhem...

    August 6, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  23. Brasso

    Michael Ware's reports must some of the best of any network on the planet. He doesn't pull any punches, either!

    August 6, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  24. Tony in Largo, Fl

    Now here's a situation where I wouldn't mind sending the CIA on a Mission to accelarate this man's encounter with the final judge.

    August 6, 2009 at 7:27 pm |