Over nearly 30 years at the head of one of the most powerful crime organisations in the world, the jailed drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán is reputed to have built up a fortune worth at least $1bn.
But according to Mexico’s attorney general, US authorities investigating the kingpin have still not been able to trace a single dollar’s worth of Guzmán’s ill-gotten gains.
“As of today, US authorities have not found not even one dollar of El Chapo’s assets,” Raul Cervantes told the broadcaster Televisa on Wednesday. “His money hasn’t been found because he didn’t use the financial system.”
Guzmán, who entered the realms of criminal folklore by twice escaping maximum security prisons, was captured for the third time in January 2016 and extradited a year later to the US on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration. He faces a string of charges in a New York court and prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of more than $14bn in illicit earnings made by his Sinaloa cartel.
Cervantes appeared on morning television to boast about the capture on Tuesday of Dámaso López, Guzmán’s former right-hand man who authorities say was trying to seize control of his old boss’s criminal empire.
But his comments on López were overshadowed by his candid admission that Guzmán’s millions have not been found.
The kingin’s fortune has been the subject of intense speculation over the past decade as Mexico launched an all-out war on organized crime in a crackdown which has cost an estimated 200,000 lives.
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