How does a Mexican drug lord make it onto Forbes Magazine's list of the world's richest people? Apparently, by amassing a billion-dollar fortune as his country's most notorious drug trafficker.
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, No. 701 on the list, heads the Sinaloa cartel, one of the biggest cocaine suppliers to the United States, according to Forbes.
The 51-year-old kingpin was arrested in 1993 on drug and murder charges but escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001, Forbes reported. The escape set off a wave of killing across Mexico, according to Reuters.
Drug violence between rival gangs has caused about 7,000 deaths in Mexico since the beginning of last year, and Guzman's Sinaloa cartel henchmen are considered some of the most vicious, Reuters reported.
Guzman often compared to the Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. Luisa Kroll, senior editor of Forbes, told Reuters that Guzman was not available for interviews, "but his financial situation is doing quite well." The magazine based its estimate on figures from drug-trade analysts and the U.S. government.
Mexican and Colombian drug traffickers laundered between $18 billion and $39 billion in proceeds from wholesale shipments to the United States in 2008, Forbes reported.