How Mexico's biggest drug traffickers who are still alive ended up in prison

Drug traffickers who had control over the planting, processing, and movement of drugs are serving time in different prisons in Mexico. Where did the big Mexican drug traffickers who are still alive end up?

How Mexico's biggest drug traffickers who are still alive ended up in prison
Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman "El Chapo"

After many years of battling against the big drug cartels, today many of their leaders are behind bars. The hundreds of lives that were lost trying to put an end to this illicit business have been avenged and now there is a little more peace in territories that were unthinkable before. Those who had control over the planting, processing, and mobilization of drugs are now serving sentences in different prisons around the country, suffering hardships they never imagined they would experience. Below, learn about the condition of the drug lords who once caused terror in Mexico.

Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo

Felix Gallardo was an untouchable drug kingpin during the 1980s. Superb and cocky, that's how intelligence reports from Mexican authorities describe him. The "Boss of Bosses" believed he would never be caught and his luck would last forever, but that didn't happen. He founded one of the most influential groups in Mexico, the Guadalajara Cartel, and had under his command famous drug traffickers such as Joaquín el Chapo Guzmán Loera, Amado Carrillo Fuentes, alias "El Señor de los Cielos," Héctor Luis "El Güero" Palma Salazar, and the Arellano Félix brothers.

His fate ended in 1989 when he was arrested and sentenced to 40 years in prison for murder, crimes against health, and bribery. In 2017 alone, he was attributed 37 more years for the murder of former DEA agent Enrique Camarena Salazar and Mexican pilot Alfredo Zavala Avelar, crimes that were committed in 1985. At 76 years old, Felix Gallardo is disabled, nearly blind, deaf, and after requesting to spend his final years under house arrest, authorities have repeatedly denied him permission.

Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo

The nonagenarian capo is the uncle of major drug traffickers Amado Carrillo Fuentes and Vicente Carrillo Fuentes alias "El Viceroy". Together with Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo and Rafael Caro Quintero, he founded the Guadalajara Cartel, bringing to the organization his experience as a trafficker, as well as helping them land ideas. In 1985, the army located the narco and his bodyguards in Puerto Vallarta, where they were arrested. "Don Neto" was with Caro Quintero, and both were sentenced to 40 years in prison for the murder and kidnapping of Camarena and Alfredo Zavala Avelar. After serving more than 30 years in prison, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation granted Fonseca the benefit of paying the rest of his sentence at his home. Thus, on July 20, 2016, he was transferred in an ambulance from the Puente Grande prison to the Guadalajara International Airport. He currently lives in an upscale neighborhood located in the State of Mexico.

Rafael Caro Quintero

Quintero is part of the guild of drug traffickers who created connections with the largest South American organizations. He entered the world of illicit substances through the cultivation of marijuana, which served as a vehicle to reach the underworld, and Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, who took him to the great spheres of the capos in Mexico. He was the founder of the Guadalajara Cartel and was also accused of torturing and murdering Enrique "Kiki'' Camarena. He entered prison and remained inside for more than 28 years until he escaped. After the fall of Chapo Gúzman, he disputes territory with the feared Sinaloa Cartel, currently said to be in Sonora, where he has the "Chapitos" and "Los Salazar" as enemies.

Joaquin Guzman

The former ruthless leader of the Sinaloa Cartel will surely spend the last years of his life in a maximum-security prison in the United States. Far from the benefits he was accustomed to in his country, he now only has the company of cold bars, after having escaped twice. In 2019 he was sentenced to more than 30 years in prison on charges of violence with weapons, money laundering, and drug trafficking. His fortune is estimated to be around $12.6 million, based on the volumes of drugs he shipped to the US.

Ismael Zambada

His whereabouts are untraceable. Currently considered one of the most powerful drug lords in the Aztec country, "El Mayo" is in hiding in one of Mexico's northern mountains. The leader of the Sinaloa Cartel is the biggest target of Mexican and U.S. authorities, who have searched for him without success.