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Mexico, April 2009. The bodies of a pair of undercover military intelligence agents, disguised as campesinos (farmers), are dumped by the side of the road. Beside the corpses is a message on a scrap of paper: 'You'll never get El Chapo.'
Such is the fate of many who have dared to try to catch El Chapo, or oppose him. El Chapo is the world's most wanted drug lord, at large since he escaped from prison in 2001 after bribing guards to wheel him out in a laundry cart. His cartel moves thousands of tons of cocaine, marijuana and heroine into the US each year using tunnels, planes and submarines. He has made an estimated $20 billion, and appeared on Forbes magazine's Global Power List in 2009. He bribes or kills politicians, police, soldiers and those who betray him. He's hailed by locals as a folk hero. But the net is closing. Who will make the final move? There is no bigger crime story today, worldwide, than the Mexican drug war and the hunt for El Chapo. The Last Narco traces his life and the struggle to bring him to justice, through reportage and interviews with rival narcos, police and DEA sources. This is a non-fiction thriller to match Mark Bowden's Killing Pablo and Roberto Saviano's Gomorrah. It also tells a wider story: the brutal war between the cartels, the endemic state corruption and the US complicity in a conflict that is killing more people than Iraq.
Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera (a.k.a. El Chapo) is a legend in Mexican drug lore with a reputation as a charming, dangerous vice lord who effectively ran his operation at the peak of the violent drug battles over a decade. Using secret Mexican and American government records and interviews with officials, drug traffickers, and members of El Chapo's cartel, Beith, a journalist covering the Mexican drug war for Newsweek, provides an in-your-face account of the poor peasant boy who rose to become the most feared and ruthless of the drug lords, flaunting his wealth and power while eluding capture from a massive manhunt. Even when El Chapo's capture was announced, officials knew he would escape and he did, returning to the mountains where troops couldn't touch him. Courageous, gritty, and gripping.