Meet the Mother of “El Chapo”: “Even as a Little Child, He Had Ambitions”

Share:

July 17, 2015

Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the drug kingpin known as “El Chapo” (Shorty), is once again one of the world’s most wanted men, following his second escape from a Mexican prison last Saturday.

His Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s largest trafficker of cocaine, heroin and marijuana, has orchestrated violence that has lead to thousands of deaths in recent years. Drugs from its operations are sold in the U.S. and across the world, and Guzmán’s net worth has previously been estimated at more than $1 billion.

According to a rare interview with Guzmán’s mother, Consuelo Loera, that will air on FRONTLINE this coming Tuesday, July 21, her son dreamt of building an empire for as long as she could remember.

“Even as a little child, he had ambitions,” Loera told filmmakers Angus Macqueen and Guillermo Galdos, who sat down with her on their quest to find and interview Guzmán prior to his 2014 arrest by Mexican authorities.

“I remember he had a lot of paper money — little notes of 50’s and 5’s,” she recalled to them. “He’d count and recount them, then tie them up in little piles. He’d say, ‘Mama, save them for me.’ It was just colored paper, but they looked real. He piled them up carefully … Ever since he was little, he always had hopes.”

In Drug Lord: The Legend of Shorty, the two filmmakers explore Guzmán’s brutal and bloody empire. From the streets of Chicago to the “Golden Triangle” in Mexico, home to the Sinaloa cartel’s heroin and marijuana production, the film traces what happened the first time Guzmán escaped from prison in 2001, and features rare access to the U.S. officials that sought to catch him, members of his cartel, and even this exclusive on-camera interview with his mother:

Drug Lord: The Legend of Shorty will premiere on PBS 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

Twitter:

@ptaddonio

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

FRONTLINE Wins Peabody Award for 'China Undercover'
The documentary investigated what has been described as the largest mass incarceration of an ethnic group since the Holocaust.
June 21, 2021
Number of Gunshot Victims in Minneapolis is Up 90% From Last Year; Solutions Elusive
As Minneapolis struggles to develop a new approach to public safety amid intense scrutiny of its police department, it faces a depressingly familiar problem: how to curb surging gun violence as the weather warms.
June 19, 2021
The Doctor is Out: Texas Community Worries About Future Without Local Healthcare
The problem the residents of Bowie, TX, face is one that has become more prevalent around the U.S. as at least 136 rural hospitals have closed in the last decade.
June 18, 2021
America’s Legacy of Racist Killings: Key Takeaways from ‘Un(re)solved’
Civil rights era cold case killings. A federal effort to right past wrongs. What a FRONTLINE investigation reveals about the lives lost and the search for justice.
June 17, 2021