Start spreadin’ the news, Mexico’s “El Chapo” could soon wake up in the city in the never sleeps.
The infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s first stop if extradited could be the Big Apple after the Brooklyn Federal Court unsealed an indictment accusing the former Sinaloa Cartel boss and his successor of being involved in hundreds of murders, kidnappings and tortures.
Along with his purported successor Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, Guzmán “employed ‘sicarios,’ or hit men, who carried the acts of violence, according to the indictment.
Last month, two assistant U.S. Attorneys presented evidence to a grand jury about the killings and the laundering of $14 billion in drug money overseen by the drug lords.
Known as Mexico's Osama bin Laden, Guzman was the world's most powerful and elusive drug lord before he was arrested in February in a high-rise beachfront condominium in Mazatlán, Mexico.
Guzmán's capture ended a long and storied manhunt that last over a decade. He was rumored to live everywhere from Argentina to Guatemala since he slipped out in 2001 from prison in a laundry truck — a storied feat that fed his larger-than-life persona. Because insiders aided his escape, rumors circulated for years that he was helped and protected by former Mexican President Felipe Calderón's government, which vanquished some of his top rivals.
In more than a decade on the run, Guzmán transformed himself from a middling Mexican capo into arguably the most powerful drug trafficker in the world. His fortune has grown to more than $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine, which listed him among the "World's Most Powerful People" and ranked him above the presidents of France and Venezuela.
Guzmán did all that with a $7 million bounty on his head and while evading thousands of law enforcement agents from the U.S. and other countries devoted to his capture. A U.S. federal indictment unsealed in San Diego in 1995 charged Guzmán and 22 members of his organization with conspiracy to import over eight tons of cocaine and money laundering. A provisional arrest warrant was issued as a result of the indictment, according to the U.S. State Department.
Despite the charges against him in the U.S., it is unclear when or even if Guzmán will be extradited since the U.S. government has not made a formal request to Mexico for Guzmán’s extradition. It is, however, widely believed that if he is extradited, Guzmán’s first stop on his court tour will start with at least a New York minute.
“If he’s extradited, the charges and the paperwork are now in place,” a source close to the case told the New York Daily News.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.