Guzman heads Mexico’s biggest drug trafficking organization, and is now the most wanted man in Mexico, if not the world. He has been on the run since escaping prison in 2001, and was recently described by an official from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as the biggest drug trafficker in history.
Guzman’s decade of liberty is an ongoing embarrassment to the Mexican government, especially with the emergence of claims over the years that the drug lord was living openly in the mountains of the Sierra Madre. There are stories about him marrying in a public ceremony in a local village, zooming through the region in a convoy of cars, and going out to eat in restaurants accompanied by his entourage.
Meanwhile, there are suspicions that the government is focusing on pursuing members of other drug-trafficking organizations, at the expense of targeting the Sinaloa Cartel. An investigation by the U.S. radio station NPR in 2010 found that the number of Sinaloa members captured is disproportionately low, relative to those arrested from other criminal groups.
All this, together with the rising fortunes of the Sinaloa Cartel, has led to suspicions that law enforcement may be on Guzman’s side, perhaps working to eliminate the Sinaloa Cartel's rivals at the expense of targeting Sinaloan operatives, with "El Chapo's" unofficial blessing."