What Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s Mom Thinks Of Him

During an exclusive interview with TIME, the mother of notorious drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman shared what she thinks of her son.

Guzman, 61, is in New York City’s highest-security prison after escaping from Mexican prisons twice, once in 2001 and again in 2015. He is accused of trafficking drugs worth $14 billion into the United States. His is one of the biggest narcotics cases in U.S. criminal history.

LAWYER: El Chapo’s mental health is deteriorating while in prison

During the interview, Guzman’s mother, Consuelo Loera, 88, spoke about his childhood growing up in a mud-made shack in Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains.

“They were difficult times. We longed for something better,” Loera told TIME.

TIME reports Guzmán helped bring food to the table by hauling sacks of oranges around the hills to sell to peasant farmers for a few pesos.

“He always fought for a better life,” Loera told TIME, “even as a small boy.”

TIME reports Guzman’s mother no longer lives in a muddy shack, but instead in a sprawling brick compound with guards outside on quad bikes brandishing Kalashnikov assault rifles.

“I just talked to him by telephone,” Loera told TIME. “He is putting on a brave face. He has always been someone who acts as if everything is fine.”

IN THE FAMILY: No one parties like the son of ‘El Chapo’

Dozens of other Mexican drug lords who have been extradited to the U.S. in recent years have pleaded guilty – usually, as part of deals. Guzmán however has declared himself innocent. Due to his plea, a trial is scheduled for September in a federal court in Brooklyn. Until then, he remains in the New York City prison.

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Sandra Beltran: Mexico’s Most Infamous Female Organized Crime Boss Gives Her First Post Prison Interview 

October 2015, Sandra Ávila Beltran, the revered “Queen of Cocaine” or “Queen of the Pacific” was released from prison.

She has spent the last seven years in confinement for money laundering, including two years in solitary confinement.

Avila, now in her early 50s, was arrested in 2007 in Mexico City with her Colombian boyfriend, Juan Diego Espinoza Ramirez, whom officials claimed was also a powerful drug-world figure.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, “Avila is believed to have been a rare figure — a powerful woman — in Latin America’s testosterone-saturated drug world, and her story has become a kind of genre to itself, particularly with the success of ‘La Reina del Sur,’ the wildly popular Telemundo telenovela to which Avila’s life is sometimes compared. (Fortune)

 

Sandra Ávila Beltrán at home. Photograph: Jonathan Franklin

The former Cartel queen pin gave an exclusive interview, her first in nearly a decade, from her home near Guadalajara, Mexico. In that interview she lashed out at political corruption in Mexica, mocked the futility of drug prohibition and praised Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Ávila is the stuff legends are made of – one of the few women with access to the highest levels of cartel life. She has lived, worked and loved inside the upper echelons of the Mexican drug world since the late 1970s. At the height of her career, she showed a propensity to carry suitcases with millions of dollars in crisp $100 bills.

Check out the entire insightful interview with one of the notorious women of the underworld: Queen of Cartels: most famous female leader of Mexico’s underworld speaks out