Locked In a Garage with One of “El Chapo” Guzmán’s Meth Traffickers


July 21, 2015

In 2012, when filmmakers Guillermo Galdos and Angus Macqueen set out to find and interview Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the drug kingpin known as “El Chapo” (Shorty) had been on the run from U.S. and Mexican authorities for more than a decade.

It would be another two years until Guzman was recaptured, and another three until his second escape from prison earlier this month. But at the time, Galdos and Macqueen believed Guzmán — whose Sinaloa cartel is Mexico’s largest trafficker of cocaine, heroin and marijuana — was essentially hiding in plain sight.

In their quest to track down the notorious fugitive, Galdos and Macqueen immersed themselves in Guzmán’s bloody and brutal empire — speaking with key U.S. and Mexican officials tasked with finding Guzmán, landing a rare interview with his mother, and coming face to face with senior members of his Sinaloa cartel.

At one point in their search, they found themselves locked up in a garage with one of the cartel’s drug traffickers — and lots and lots of methamphetamine.

In this excerpt from Galdos and Macqueen’s documentary Drug Lord: The Legend of Shorty, filmed less than a mile from the California border, a drug smuggler known as “El Flaco” shows Galdos and Macqueen how he operates.

“We seal it to stop the smell,” says “El Flaco” as he prepares a pound of meth he says is worth $5,500 for transportation across the border and into the U.S.

“This car’s been lucky,” he says, showing Galdos and Macqueen the lead plate installed in his truck that keeps drugs from being detected by X-rays at border crossings. “Had it for six years. Done lots of crossings … Around 300 kilos per year make it to the other side.”

Watch the excerpt from Drug Lord: The Legend of Shorty, here:

For more on the operations and reach of Guzmán’s Sinaloa cartel — which is believed to be the largest trafficker of illegal narcotics into the U.S. each year — watch Drug Lord: The Legend of Shorty. The documentary premieres on FRONTLINE on Tuesday, July 21, starting at 10 p.m. EST both on-air (check your local PBS listings) and online.

Patrice Taddonio

Patrice Taddonio, Digital Writer & Audience Development Strategist, FRONTLINE



More Stories

FRONTLINE Wins 4 News & Documentary Emmy Awards
Three FRONTLINE documentaries and an interactive investigation were honored at this year's News & Documentary Emmy Awards on Sept. 28 & 29, 2022.
September 28, 2022
Charleston, South Carolina’s Tourism Machine: Lack of scrutiny and accountability keeps public in dark about millions of taxpayer dollars spent every year
Lack of scrutiny and accountability has kept the public in the dark about millions of taxpayer dollars spent every year.
September 23, 2022
Explore Charleston CEO Says No Ill-intent With Cayman Bank Account
Charleston’s state-funded tourism marketing group stowed nearly $2 million in public money in an offshore account. The chief executive said she could understand that this might provoke some suspicion, but the account was used strictly for business and the public’s good.
September 23, 2022
Takeaways from the AP/FRONTLINE Michael Flynn investigation
Explore key takeaways from The Associated Press and FRONTLINE's investigation into Michael Flynn, the retired three-star general and former Trump national security adviser.
September 7, 2022