El Chapo’s money takes front stage during trial: See how much he’s worth

  • Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is the alleged former boss of one of the largest and most violent drug cartels.
  • An explosive allegation from the trial called into question the drug kingpin’s wealth.
  • El Chapo’s net worth is hard to define, but Forbes estimated his fortune at $1 billion in 2009.  

Notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman made a career out of artfully dodging authorities until his capture and U.S. extradition from Mexico in 2017. The alleged former boss of the Sinaloa cartel, El Chapo is currently on trial in Brooklyn, N.Y., for 17 criminal counts, including narcotics trafficking, conspiracy to commit murder, money laundering that totaled into the billions and weapons offenses.

A striking new development in the case, which began in November 2018, was discovered last week from the testimony of Alex Cifuentes Villa, a former lieutenant in the Mexican Sinaloa cartel. Villa named Enrique Peña Nieto, the former president of Mexico, as taking a $100 million bribe in exchange for calling off the nationwide El Chapo manhunt in 2012.

The startling allegation resulted in Francisco Guzman, Peña Nieto’s former chief of staff, denying the claim on Twitter, and he called the accusation false and defamatory. Here’s a look at El Chapo’s history and net worth as this case continues to reveal new information

Birthdate: Dec. 25, 1954 or April 4, 1957 (Officials have released conflicting birth dates.)
Net worth: $1 billion, as of 2009
Primary sources of income: Alleged former boss of Sinaloa cartel  

RELATED: Take a look vintage crime photos from the Daily News: 

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Vintage crime photos from the Daily News
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Vintage crime photos from the Daily News
UNITED STATES - MARCH 03: Confessed Slayer Enraged. William Patrick Farrell screams as he lunges toward fotog taking his picture in van outside Police Headquarters. Police say that Farrell, 25, father of two, reenacted for them the slaying of NYU coed Ann Yarrow last month. Farrell, a patient at Bellevue Hosipital twice before, was ordered to Bellevue again. (Photo by Al Amy/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 25: Leon Liss, Barney Mortillaro, Milton (Shuffles) Goldberg, Louis Liss, Pasquale Chicarelli and gang leader Richard Reese Whittemore (l. to r.) in a police lineup, after they were implicated in a gem holdup on W. 48th St. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 09: Theodore A. Clement in the back of a police paddy wagon after allegedly shooting a man during a poker game. (Photo by Al Amy/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 20: Isadore Strauss in jail cell at police headquarters after his arrest for murder and robbery in connection with Whittemore gang job. (Photo by Paul Levine/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 04: Abe (Kid Twist) Reles (center) in a police mug shot. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2000: Liquor store owner Abraham Weissman views the body of stickupman, Otis Mims, whom he shot during an attempted robbery. (Photo by Gary Kagan/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 01: Mass murderer Harry F. Powers, the Butcher of Clarksburg, tells a detective about the details of his grisly murders in Clarksburg, W.Va. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 19: Nela Bogacki, alias Nella Bogart, madam of the 'Continental call girl ring,' handcuffed to Salema Hontover after being seized by the F.B.I. Both are to be deported for illegal entry. (Photo by Al Amy/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 25: The body of Albert Anastasia - who ran Murder, Inc., a gang of hired killers for organized crime, in the late 1930s - lies on the barbershop floor at the Park Sheraton Hotel, Seventh Avenue and West 55th Street, soon after his murder by two gunmen at 10:20 A.M. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 20: A manacled LeRoy Luscomb is charged with first degree murder in the killing of his wife with a deer rifle. His wife is on the bed in the rear of the photo., (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) When John Kerr, of 147 W. 84th Street, and Peter Macon, 490 Columbus Avenue, were being booked on a mugging charge at the West 68th St. Precinct today, photographer Phil Grietzer, New York Daily News photographer, drew a bead on the proceedings with his camera. He didn't know the boys had a camera allergy. But he found out when the two, although handcuffed together, came charging at him. Another photographer who doesn't suffer from buck fever, got this picture.
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 16: Driver and bodyguard Thomas Bilotti lies on the street next to car after he and crime boss Paul Castellano were shot to death outside East Side steakhouse. (Photo by Thomas Monaster/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
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El Chapo’s Net Worth: $1B

The massive dollar amount of the alleged bribe brings up El Chapo’s net worth. In 2009, Forbes estimated his fortune at $1 billion — an amount high enough to earn El Chapo a spot on its billionaires list. However, a fortune built on decades of brutality and nefarious and murderous behavior isn’t exactly above board or easily audited.

With just a third-grade education, El Chapo rose to infamy from a low-level teenage drug dealer to become the kingpin of the Sinaloa cartel, which is described by the U.S. Justice Department as “one of the world’s most prolific, violent and powerful drug cartels.”

Read: 10 Richest People to Stand Trial for Murder

El Chapo’s Extravagant Lifestyle and Family

Details surrounding El Chapo’s personal life are just as elusive as his personal wealth, but what were just speculative rumors about his lifestyle are now crystallizing through trial testimony and evidence. El Chapo’s extravagance extended to a yacht, several properties with one mansion having a private zoo on top of the structure, a diamond-encrusted, monogrammed pistol and a gold-plated AK-47. It’s believed that El Chapo has been married three times and sired around 12 or 13 children.

It’s reported that El Chapo is set to take the stand in the coming weeks.

Keep reading about celebrities who have been convicted of tax evasion.

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