The world’s most-wanted drug lord, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, was arrested on Saturday. So who earns that spot now? Here are some possibilities:
The Sinaloa cartel kingpin, known as “El Mayo,” is considered a probable successor to Guzmán. He helped run the cartel when Guzmán was in prison from 1993 to 2001. Zambada’s son, Vicente, or “El Mayito,” is facing a federal grand jury indictment in Chicago and has claimed he was a Drug Enforcement Administration informant. Another son, Serafin Zambada, was arrested in November.
Reuters described his style as “brash Mexican cowboy.”
Juan Jose Esparragoza
The Sinaloa cartel figure, a Guzmán ally, is known as “El Azul,” or “Mr. Blue.” He reportedly has strong ties to Colombian gangs and other Mexican smugglers. U.S. agencies are offering rewards of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of Esparragoza. The FBI says he’s believed to have had plastic surgery.
College of William and Mary government professor George Grayson told the AP that Esparragoza is “one of [the] most astute lords in Mexico’s underworld and, by far, its best negotiator.”
Rafael Caro Quintero
Caro Quintero was convicted in Mexico in the 1985 kidnapping, torture and murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, but he was set free in 2013 after a court ruled that he should have been prosecuted in state, not federal, court.
The AP says he’s considered “the grandfather of Mexican drug trafficking”; the cartel he formed in Sinaloa later split into other cartels, including the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels.
The DEA, which put him on the list of most-wanted international fugitives, is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest or conviction.
Vicente Carrillo Fuentes
He’s the leader of the Juarez cartel and brother of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the founder of the cartel who died in 1997 during botched plastic surgery. He was indicted on 46 counts in 2000 by a federal grand jury; counts include importing and selling drugs, money-laundering and witness-tampering — as well as nine counts of ordering killings to keep information from being communicated to U.S. law enforcement and 10 counts of murder. He’s also on the DEA’s list of most-wanted international fugitives.
“La Tuta” is a leader of the cultlike Knights Templar — and a former schoolteacher who as of 2011 was still on the Mexican Education Ministry’s payroll. (“La Tuta” means “the teacher.”) After teaching, he tried farming, and then ended up working with local drug smugglers in the La Familia cartel. When its top leaders were arrested, he broke away to form the Knights Templar. Grayson described him in 2011 as “their top Bible-pounder.” He was indicted in 2009 on charges of drug trafficking.