Story from PRI's The World. Listen to audio above for full report.
Joaquin Guzman is one of the most powerful men in the world. Forbes Magazine listed the Mexican drug lord as the 41st most powerful person in the world in 2009, just behind Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Guzman's Sinaloa drug cartel controls the bulk of cocaine and marijuana trafficking into the United States. He tops the most-wanted list on both sides of the border.
Now, the 54-year-old Guzman, known as Chapo or Shorty, is a new dad. According to the Los Angeles Times, his 22-year-old wife traveled to California in mid-July and gave birth to twin girls a month later.
The Los Angeles Times got this information from "senior US law enforcement sources and officials," according to Tracy Wilkinson, who co-wrote this story. "Unfortunately," she said, "I can’t be more specific than that because that’s the condition of them giving us the information; but I’m confident that the information is correct."
Guzman rose to power in Mexico by growing, producing, and shipping marijuana to the United States, according to Wilkinson. He's also been involved with shipping cocaine from Colombia to the United States.
But US officials did not stop his wife for questioning. "The federal agents were clearly following her," Wilkinson says, "tracking her every move. I think they knew even as she embarked on her trip to California. They knew when she crossed the border. And they knew when she checked into the hospital and when the babies were born. And they knew when she left and came back to Mexico."
The official reason why she wasn't stopped for questioning is that "there are no charges against her," according to Wilkinson. "She is not wanted on any indictment, and therefore, they did not pick her up."
The real reason may be different. "It may be that finding Guzman is not as big a challenge as actually apprehending him," Wilkinson says. "You know, he travels surrounded by very well-armed security. He tends to live in remote, isolated places that are hard to get to; in other words, a column of Mexican soldiers trying to move in on him would be noticed. And so this points to what has been an interminable problem here, is how to capture him."
Read the rest of this story on The World website.
PRI's "The World" is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. "The World" is a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston. More about The World.