Drug War Zone: Frontline Dispatches from the Streets of El Paso and Juaarez

By Howard Campbell | Go to book overview

Introduction

On July 2, 2007, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, a drug lord and the most wanted man in Mexico, reportedly married a woman from La Angostura, Durango, in a public ceremony. Though already married twice, Guzmán fell in love with eighteen-year-old Emma Coronel—described by a reporter as being white skinned and having a well-formed body—who had recently been named queen of the 2007 Coffee and Guava Fair (Dávila 2007b, 7). Emma had met Chapo at a village dance. Before he arrived at the wedding, a small army of heavily armed, masked, and black-clad bodyguards on 200 two-seater all-terrain motorcycles took over the town in what must have appeared like a scene out of a James Bond movie.

While the bodyguards protected all ten entrances to the village, a narcocorrido band, Los Canelos de Durango, armed with gold-handled pistols, arrived in a small plane. Six more planes touched down, from one of which El Chapo emerged, dressed in his customary jeans, vest, and baseball cap, an AK-47 cuerno de chivo (goat horn) rifle strapped across his chest and a pistol that matched his clothes attached to his belt. Helicopters circled overhead as other planes landed and unloaded innumerable cases of whiskey, crates of weapons (grenades, machine guns, more AK-47s, etc.), and more security guards dressed in green military fatigues and sporting bullet-proof vests with police-style radios clipped to their chests. According to the reporter who described the event, Chapo’s entourage was more ostentatious than that of a Mexican president (Dávila 2007b, 6–11).

By now, such flamboyant events, as well as stories about jetliners stuffed to the gills with cocaine, narco-manifestos attacking the government, pop singers slaughtered for offending drug bosses, and safe houses packed with millions of dollars in small bills or numerous be-

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