Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, The U.S. Treasury Department called Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman “the world’s most powerful drug trafficker” Tuesday. The fugitive Sinaloa cartel leader also got a boost from Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo, who said she believed in Guzman more than in the government.
It was the latest in an odd series of encomiums for Guzman, who was included this year on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people, with an estimated fortune of $1 billion.
The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City issued a statement saying three of Guzman’s alleged associates had been hit with sanctions under the drug Kingpin Act, which prohibits people in the U.S. from conducting businesses with them and freezes their U.S. assets. The two Mexican men and a Colombian allegedly aided Guzman’s trafficking operations.
The statement quoted Adam J. Szubin, director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, as saying the move “marks the fourth time in the past year that OFAC has targeted and exposed the support structures of the organization led by Chapo Guzman, the world’s most powerful drug trafficker.”
Guzman, who escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001 in a laundry truck and has a $7 million bounty on his head, has long been recognized as Mexico’s most powerful drug capo. Authorities say his Sinaloa cartel has recently been expanding abroad, building international operations in Central and South America and the Pacific.
Del Castillo, who played a female drug trafficker in the TV series “La Reina del Sur” (“Queen of the South”), offered grudging praise for Guzman in a posting Tuesday on the social media site Twextra, linked to her Twitter account.
“Today, I believe more in El Chapo Guzman than in the governments who hide truths from me,” she wrote.
The actress did not specify whether she was referring to the Mexican government, or what she meant when she accused “governments” of “hiding the cures for cancer, AIDS, etc. for their own benefit and enrichment.”
Del Castillo’s publicist, Marianne Sauvage, confirmed in an email to The Associated Press that the actress wrote the posting, and that the account belonged to Del Castillo.