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Latino Daily News

Saturday March 1, 2014

El Chapo Uses Drug Money to Purchase 300 Companies

El Chapo Uses Drug Money to Purchase 300 Companies

Photo: El Chapo

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Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who was arrested last weekend, used drug proceeds to assemble a conglomerate of 288 firms across more than a dozen countries, Mexico’s El Universal daily said Friday.

Guzman’s holdings include hotels, mines, gas stations and an ostrich ranch, the newspaper said, citing data from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.

The other leading figure in the cartel, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, owns a dairy and “even a daycare in Sinaloa,” according to El Universal.

Working through associates in Panama, El Chapo acquired at least two companies in the legal drug business, the newspaper said.

Investigators also found financial connections between Guzman and people close to Rafael Caro Quintero, founder of the now-defunct Guadalajara drug cartel, who was released from prison last August after a judge threw out charges against him for the 1985 murders of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena and pilot Alfredo Zavala Avelar.

Guzman and Caro Quintero operatives share ownership of 37 companies in Sinaloa and Jalisco states, the newspaper said.

In partnership with Colombian national Jorge Milton Cifuentes Villa, El Chapo controls a financial firm with offices in Mexico City, Miami, Madrid and Panama City, as well as an airline in Ecuador.

The 56-year-old drug lord also established two charitable foundations.

Mexican security forces captured the world’s most powerful drug trafficker in the resort city of Mazatlan without firing a shot.

Emma Coronel, a former Miss Sinaloa who married Guzman in 2007, was in the apartment raided by marines last Saturday.

Guzman was arrested in 1993 in Guatemala and sent back to Mexico, where he was convicted of bribery. He escaped from the Puente Grande penitentiary in the western state of Jalisco on Jan. 19, 2001.

El Chapo, a fixture on Forbes magazine’s annual list of global billionaires, faces a raft of charges in both Mexico and the United States.

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