Reputed Mexican drug lord on Forbes most-powerful list
Mexico City, Mexico (CNN) — A reputed Mexican drug lord with a $5 million reward on his head has been named to Forbes magazine’s list of the most powerful people in the world.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who authorities say heads the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, is believed to have shipped $6 billion to $19 billion in cocaine to the United States over the past eight years, Forbes says in the listing.
The magazine ranks him No. 41, ahead of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (No. 43), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (46), French President Nicolas Sarkozy (56) and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (67). Guzman also bested U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts (49) and entertainer Oprah Winfrey (45) on the list, released Wednesday.
The designation marks the second time Forbes has named Guzman to one of its lists. Forbes classified him in March as one of the wealthiest people in the world, ranking him No. 701 with a net worth of $1 billion.
Guzman was not the first narcotrafficker named to the Forbes most-wealthy list. The magazine placed Colombian cocaine king Pablo Escobar on the list in 1989.
Guzman, known as “El Chapo” or “Shorty,” is under indictment in Illinois on cocaine trafficking charges. U.S. officials have offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.
He was arrested in 1993 on homicide and drug charges but escaped in 2001, reportedly by bribing prison guards to smuggle him out in a laundry truck. A Mexican federal investigation led to the arrest of more than 70 prison officials.
Forbes notes that Guzman’s fortune was self-made. His age is given as 52 or 54.
The Sinaloa Cartel, named after the Mexican Pacific Coast state where the gang was formed, is one of the most powerful drug-trafficking groups in the nation.