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Because Joaquín Guzmán grew up poor in a rural area, he began selling marijuana in elementary school and by age 15 was the family's primary breadwinner. ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images
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He was first recognized on Forbes' list of billionaires in 2009, which should come as no surprise, because his cartel was responsible for 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 massive size with operations linking five continents. DEA
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Joaquín Guzmán also 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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Part of El Chapo's prison break involved using a motorcycle to journey through an escape tunnel. Telemundo/YouTube
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His escape involved up to 78 accomplices and bribes totaling around $2.5 million. Manuel Velasquez/LatinContent/Getty Images
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Joaquín Guzmán has been known to get into verbal fights via Twitter, including one with Donald Trump in 2015, telling him, "I'm going to make you eat your words."Wikimedia Commons
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An attempt was made on his 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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He built his mother, Consuelo Loera, a large home with his earnings. PBS/YouTube
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He's a pretty popular topic for songwriters. 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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He would pick up the check for everybody at restaurants and patrons had no choice because his bodyguards would lock the restaurant's doors. Univision/YouTube
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In one of these reported incidents, El Chapo's henchman were said to have entered 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 Joaquín Guzmán, The Most Feared Drug Lord In Mexican History
If you were to lay out the facts of Joaquín Guzmán's life, you'd think it was ripped from the pages of a Hollywood movie script: assassination attempts, worldwide domination of the illegal drug trade, daring prison escapes, and encounters with movie stars deep in the jungle.
It would all be a little hard to believe if there wasn't hard evidence to back it up. But the fact is that Joaquín 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 path to the top of the drug world in his early teens as a highly profitable marijuana dealer.
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 murder in the mid-1980s that Guzmán truly stepped up to the big leagues of international drug-trafficking and founded the notorious Sinaloa cartel.
It wasn't long before Joaquín Guzmán was making a name for himself as one of the country's most powerful drug dealers — and putting himself on the radar of both Mexican and U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Soon, Guzmán would spend eight years in prison during the 1990s before escaping in 2001, but even behind bars, his cartel continued to grow in power. In the decade following his escape, he would rise to the infamy of historic criminal kingpins like Pablo Escobar and Al Capone and eventually be responsible for trafficking nearly a quarter of the world's illegal drugs.
But he fell from that perch upon being captured by police in 2014, only to escape again and be recaptured in 2016, from which point onward he has remained in custody.
Yet even though Joaquín Guzmán has now been caught, his astounding legacy will not soon fade away. Discover the most unbelievable facts about his life in the gallery above.