A drug trade superpower is born
Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera, known as "El Chapo," was born in La Tuna, Badiraguato, Sinaloa, Mexico sometime in the 1950s. (Officials have released conflicting birth dates). In the 1970s, Guzman began his life of organized crime, working for prominent drug lords including Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, the leader of the Guadalajara cartel, who recruited Guzman in the 1980s.
El Chapo climbs the ranks
Guzman's mentor Felix Gallardo was arrested in 1989. At the time of his arrest, the powerful, sprawling Guadalajara Cartel was being split into individually-controlled factions. The faction under Guzman's control became the Sinaloa Cartel, which in the ensuing years moved billions upon billions of dollars in marijuana, cocaine and heroin. It is during this time that Guzman's activities were first detected by the United States.
El Chapo becomes famous
Years of warring between the Sinaloa and Tijuana Cartels came to a violent head in May of 1993 when gunmen from the Tijuana cartel opened fire on a car near the Guadalajara International Airport. They believed Guzman was hiding in the car, but it was actually Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo, the Cardinal and Archbishop of Guadalajara.
Following Posadas Ocampo's death, the Mexican government launched a manhunt to find his killers. In the process, pictures of Guzman were widely publicized for the first time. This public "outing" forced Guzman to flee to Guatemala. He reportedly paid a $1.2 million bribe to the Guatemalan military to protect him.
His luck runs out
In June 1993, Guzman was located and arrested by Guatemalan authorities near the Mexico-Guatemala border. While in prison, he bribed security guards for special treatment, took a mistress and continued to seamlessly oversee the workings of the Sinaloa Cartel. During this time, the Sinaloa Cartel expanded its influence into the trafficking of methamphetamine.