It was two in the morning and my phone rang, writes Guillermo Galdos.
I saw it was a call from Mexico. When I answer a friend shouted “El Chapo is gone”. I could not believe it. He had done it again.
Immediately I called my contacts in Sinaloa and nobody dare answer the phone until the next morning.
I stayed up most of the night trying to piece together all the time that I spent in the mountains of Sinaloa with his people. For nearly two years I went in and out of the “golden triangle”, the headquarters of the Sinaloa cartel. It’s like Atlanta for Coca Cola.
I recall it was a waiting game. Patience. Then permission came through and the doors opened. Suddenly dozens of armed men appeared. They had better weapons than most Latin American armies. I knew El Senor was close.
I was invited for lunch with his mum and then taken to his favorite place on earth – a secure house they call heaven – at the top of the mountains.
More armed men appeared in brand new quadbikes. They looked like kids with new toys.
They told me that “heaven” was the first place he went when he escaped from prison in 2001. A simple house with a great view. When the soldiers arrived looking for him he just walked into the forest.
Up there I met Carlos. He told me how El Chapo had rescued him and another four guys from a prison in Culiacan.
“He never leaves his people behind. He is a man of his word.”
Suddenly I realized that the majority of El Chapo’s inner circle were people that had escaped from prison in one way or another. El Chapo had payed for them to escape. They were incredibly loyal to him.
That night we met one of Chapo’s right hand men “El Primo”. He had also been arrested in a Hollywood-style military operation. He was taken to a local police station while he waited for the plane that was going to move him to Mexico City.
“El Chapo never forgets his friends”.
Twenty armed men took over the police station and without shooting a single bullet they entered the cells and shouted “Who is El Primo!!” He said: “Me, Why?” And they replied “ El Senor wants to see you. Get ready, we are leaving now”.