Recent headlines have touted yet another prison escape by notorious drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman, otherwise known as El Chapo. The new documentary El Chapo: CEO of Crime explores the man behind these headlines, the unprecedented growth of his criminal empire, and his role in supplying drugs to nearly every region of the globe.
“Any community that has the availability of dangerous drugs, you can directly or indirectly connect it to Chapo,” says Phil Jordan, a former Drug Enforcement Agency officer. Other DEA agents and law enforcement figures also testify to El Chapo’s reach and influence in perpetuating the global scourge of drugs.
El Chapo’s status as the most wanted criminal in the world has garnered him nearly mythic status in some circles, but his origins were far from lavish. Born and raised under destitute circumstances in Sinaloa, Mexico, he began working in the drug trade at the age of 15. In the 1990’s, he rose to power as the head of the Sinaloa cartel, and called upon his cleverness and ingenuity to devise schemes for getting drugs across America’s heavily militarized borders. He fashioned a series of complex underground tunnels which were meticulously constructed by professional engineers from his homeland; the same brand of tunnels that would allow him to escape from a Mexican prison in the summer of 2015.
In painting its personalized portrait of this modern day Scarface, El Chapo: CEO of Crime thrives upon the testimony of a team of reporters from Univision who worked for many months to gain access to Chapo’s operation. In their pursuit to unravel the details of his story, the reporters discovered not only the scope of his empire, but how he has succeeded in remaining largely elusive from the eyes of justice as well. Many of his people consider him a hero, and they set their watchful and protective gaze upon any outsiders who enter the Sinaloa territory.
Much like a grand Hollywood crime epic, El Chapo; CEO of Crime tells a thrilling rags to riches story seasoned with brutal violence, devastating human loss, and a virus of criminality that sadly seems much too advanced and widespread to contain.