Escaped Mexican Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ Is Becoming a Folk Hero at Home

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo

With Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín Guzmán Loera’s second major escape from a maximum security prison in Mexico, his fans are growing in number. The drug lord known as “El Chapo” is becoming something of a folk hero in Sinaloa, Mexico, the killer’s hometown.

The New York Times reports that citizens in Sinaloa are celebrating “El Chapo’s” escape as an example of his endless guile and intelligence, quite despite his fearsome reputation as a killer and drug trafficker.

One Mexican from Culiacán, for instance, tried to answer why he and his fellow Mexicans view the drug lord as a hero. “Because he’s a living legend. He’s like Al Capone. He’s like Lucky Luciano. Like Tony Soprano. Like Scarface. He’s like a character on a television show, except that he’s alive, he’s real.”

Others appreciate Guzmán because he is a major source of income for many in the territory he has controlled over the years. They view him more like a Jesse James character or a Robin Hood.

But above all is the defiance that Guzmán represents. Defiance to the Mexican government that many feel have let them down, defiance to the far-off United States, defiance even to a world wracked by the death-dealing drugs that Guzmán sells.

Guzmán has humiliated every enemy, they feel. And they want to be on the winning team.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at


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