Reputed Cartel Leader Makes Forbes Billionaire List

By R. Smith
|  Friday, Mar 13, 2009  |  Updated 11:45 AM PDT
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Reputed Cartel Leader Makes Forbes Billionaire List

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Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, seen here in 1993, is rumored to fly into small villages by helicopter, stay for a moment, and then fly off to avoid capture.

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He’s the most-wanted man in Mexico and now he’s made one of the most coveted lists in the world -- Forbes’ 'The World's Billionaires', 2009 edition.

Mexican leaders are, of course, outraged.

At a time when an escalation in drug-related violence has killed more than 6,000 people in just one year, when beheadings and kidnappings are commonplace, and when many of San Diego’s spring breakers are getting the message to skip the annual trek to Cabo, Mexico’s leaders are shocked that the magazine known for honoring “honest businessmen” would select the reputed leader of one of the country’s most violent drug cartels for its annual list.

"Magazines are not only attacking and lying about the situation in Mexico but are also praising criminals," Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon said Thursday. “In Mexico it is considered a crime to praise criminals.”

The magazine ranks Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, with an estimated $1 billion fortune, at No. 701 between a Swiss oil-trading tycoon and an American chemical heir.

Guzman, Mexico's most-wanted fugitive, is believed to head the Sinaloa cartel and has a $5 million bounty on his head. Seems paltry when you consider the numbers Guzman could put up to keep people from snitching.
 

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