El Chapo’s Cartel Owns More Planes Than Mexico’s National Airline

REUTERS/Henry Romero/Files

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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The Sinaloa Cartel run by imprisoned drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has owned 599 planes, far exceeding the measly 127 owned by Mexico’s national airline, Aeromexico.

From 2006 to 2015, the Sinaloa Cartel had 4,771 runways ripped apart by the Mexican government. According to Mexican daily El Universal, the runways varied in length “between 500 meters and 1 kilometer.”

The planes were extremely light and expected to handle over 500 kilos worth of drugs. Planes owned by the cartel landed in the mountains of The Golden Triangle between Durango, Sinaloa and Chihuahua.

Since Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto came to power in 2012, the country’s authorities have taken out 55 planes as well as 894 runways. According to Fox News Latino, “A secret testimony filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago in late 2014 revealed Guzman also owned a personal fleet of Boeing 747 jets, speedboats, submarines, tractor trailers and freight trains.”

El Chapo himself has publicly confirmed he has an extensive transportation operation for his vast drug empire when he told Rolling Stone in January, “I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats.” Such vast resources are necessary for a man who claims, “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world.”

The Sinaloa Cartel is estimated to have annual revenues of $3 billion. In fiscal year 2015, Aeromexico only had annual revenues of $2.65 billion according to the company’s quarterly reports and the current conversion rate.

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