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Thug Life: World 5 Most Notorious Drug Kingpins

With the recent prison escape of  Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán ' and his subsequent arrest in a bloody raid in Mexico, one of the world...

With the recent prison escape of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán' and his subsequent arrest in a bloody raid in Mexico, one of the world's most notorious criminal, drug lords live a brutal, violent and ruthless lives, much dirtier than Hollywood could ever depict.

Today, we peep through at five of the most notorious drug traffickers of our time.

1. Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán
Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, the man who became known as “El Chapo” (“Shorty”), certainly looks unassuming: 5’6” tall, middle aged, average looks. But his unremarkable appearance is deceptive.

Guzmán is the kingpin of the Sinaloa Cartel, the source of the largest percentage of drugs imported into the United States every year: cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin, all delivered by the ton through elaborate land and air distribution channels.
'El Chapo' During His Recent Arrest In Mexico 

In 2006, violating a pact between cartels, Guzmán ordered an assassination that spurred what has come to be referred to as the Mexican Drug War. This conflict between cartels has resulted in over 60,000 deaths and 12,000 kidnappings. 

Along the way, Guzmán has become a billionaire and one of the most powerful men in the world. The law caught up with Guzmán from 1993 to 2001 when he was arrested and imprisoned. 

But he made himself comfortable in jail, through bribery and intimidation, until his eventual escape (which involved the bribing of 78 people and cost him over $2 million to engineer). He escaped again on February 22, 2015. 

2. Pablo Escobar
If one man could be said to represent the idea of a 'drug kingpin', that one man would be Pablo Escobar. While running the Medellín Cartel out of Colombia in the 70s and 80s, Escobar’s ruthless tactics ensured a steady flow of cocaine into America. 

Some sources estimate that 80% of the cocaine imported into this country came through Escobar’s enterprise, some 15 tons per day at its peak.

Escobar became one of the world’s richest men (with an estimated worth of nearly $10 billion) through eliminating rivals and fostering corruption within the Colombian government. Officials who didn’t bow to bribery often met violent ends. 

Pablo Escobar Was Responsible For The Deaths Of 4 000 People   

He assassinated candidates for office, judges, police officers, and reporters. He planted a bomb on an airplane to kill a candidate for president; the candidate was not on the plane, but 110 innocent people were. 

Ultimately, Escobar would be responsible for the deaths of over 4,000 people.
His fame, however, has outlived him. Last week, Netflix announced plans to film a TV series based on his life, and upcoming films featuring Benicio Del Toro andJohn Leguizamo as Escobar are already in production.

3. Griselda Blanco
Not all drug kingpins are men. One of the most ruthless drug “queenpins” of all-time was Griselda Blanco, nicknamed “La Madrina,” or “The Godmother.” 

Blanco was one of the key figures in the Medellín Cartel and has been credited with being a mentor to Pablo Escobar, who would eventually become her enemy.

Blanco first made her name by developing bras and girdles designed to hide smuggled cocaine. She left Colombia in the early 70s and settled in Queens, New York, where she set up a large-scale operation. 

Blanco The World Drug Queenpin 

In 1975, she was indicted when the government intercepted a huge cocaine shipment. Blanco fled back to Colombia, but it wasn’t long before she returned, this time to Miami.

In the 80s, Blanco painted Miami white and red: white with cocaine and red with the blood of drug rivals. One favorite method included drive-by shootings via motorcycle. Miami experienced a wave of Blanco-related crime, including a submachine-gun attack at a mall. 

4. Osiel Cárdenas Guillén
Like certain mafiosos, it helps to have a memorable nickname if you’re going to be a drug kingpin. Osiel Cárdenas Guillén has one of the grimmer ones: “El Mata Amigos,” or “The Friend Killer.” 

Cárdenas earned the sobriquet by murdering his friend Salvador Gómez, who was in line to assume control of the Gulf Cartel in 1996. Needless to say, the Gulf Cartel soon had a new top man. 

'The Friend Killer'

He infiltrated the formerly incorruptible Mexican Special Forces branch of the military and amassed a private mercenary army that protected his interests and enforced his will. 

Cárdenas was captured and extradited to the U.S., where he still resides in a Texas prison. 

5. Frank Lucas
Originally from North Carolina, Lucas arrived in New York and soon got involved with local gangster “Bumpy” Johnson. 

After Johnson died, Lucas saw an opportunity to move into the drug trade that had up to that point been dominated by the Italian mafia. Using military contacts overseas, he established a distribution network directly from Southeast Asia. 

Frank Lucas 

Poppies were grown and processed into heroin and flown in military planes back to the U.S. (Lucas himself has asserted that heroin was sometimes packed into the coffins of soldiers being flown back from Vietnam). 

The purity of the heroin, combined with the violent tactics of Lucas towards competitors and the corrupt New York City police force of the early 70s, ensured that Lucas was soon making millions of dollars a month.

He went to jail, but turned government informant, which lessened his sentence. He lost all of his money, but he gained his freedom. His story was later told by Hollywood in the movie American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington. - Online Sources 

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