The Many Urban Legends That Aided The Myth Of ‘El Chapo’

By: 01.09.16

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On Friday, the legend of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman saw a new wrinkle when the fugitive drug lord was recaptured by Mexican authorities after a dramatic, pre-dawn shootout. The head of the Sinaloa cartel had been on the lam since his July 2015 escape, but the party is over. The escape artist and drug lord returned to the same maximum-security prison that failed to keep track of him as he fled through an elaborate shower tunnel.

There are many established facts about El Chapo, but several legends exist as well. He’s a mythical figure who appears in tales throughout Mexico, and the internet has only aided the proliferation of this highly entertaining lore. On occasion, you’ll hear El Chapo painted as a gentlemanly, Salvatore Giuliano-esque bandit, but most folks who encounter El Chapo tell the tale of a ruthless drug titan who will stop at nothing to enforce his business. Here are some urban legends about the Sinaloa cartel’s finest, El Chapo:

(1) The vengeful lord tales: A couple of El Chapo legends fit nicely into the same category for their Godfather-esque quality. One such tale paints El Chapo as a jealous lover, who threatened a top state official when they became enamored of the same woman and showered her with generous gifts. El Chapo reportedly sent a note that read, “Send her another gift, and I will kill you.” A corollary tale saw El Chapo defending his niece from a car thief by directing his men to cut off the offender’s hands.

(2) The generous diner theory: El Chapo may have spent much of his life as a fugitive, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy a good steak. In fact, many claim to have broken bread beside the legendary kingpin. One bit of regional lore holds that Chapo would have his bodyguards “frisk” restaurant goers before entering an establishment. The group would seize cellphones and weapons for the duration of a meal. Then El Chapo would whip out his wallet and pay for the entire restaurant’s tab.

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