Last month, authorities in Mexico arrested one of the most powerful drug lords in the world: Joaquin Guzman Loera. Nicknamed “El Chapo,” which means “shorty,” he had escaped from a Mexican prison 13 years ago and ruled a multi-billion dollar drug empire that supplied cocaine and marijuana to the U.S. But El Chapo is not the first drug lord to be captured. Frank Lucas was a heroin dealer in New York City in the 1960s and 70s. Rather than go through middlemen, Lucas had the innovation to get heroin directly from producers in Southeast Asia and, using bribes, smuggled it home onboard military aircraft. Lucas was arrested in 1975 and sentenced to 70 years in prison, but after becoming an informant he was released in 1981. Denzel Washington portrayed Lucas in the 2007 film “American Gangster.” Other drug lords met a more gruesome end. Amado Fuentes was nicknamed “Lord of the Skies” because of his extensive use of airplanes to smuggle cocaine. Fuentes died in 1997 during a botched plastic surgery operation. Pablo Escobar was perhaps the most famous drug lord of all time, controlling much of the cocaine market during the 1980s, and accumulating an estimated $30 billion fortune. But Escobar was gunned down by Colombian law enforcement officers in 1993. Many drug lords, though, are still at large. Dawood Ibrahim is an Indian billionaire who runs a crime syndicate called “D-Company” which is suspected of drug trafficking, illegal weapons sales and counterfeiting. Ibrahim better enjoy his freedom while it lasts, as most drug lords don’t get to retire to Florida and live in peace. Just ask El Chapo.
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