Mexican drug lord "El Chapo" drops off of Forbes' billionaires list

FILE - In this June 10, 1993 file photo, Joaquin Guzman Loera, alias "El Chapo" Guzman, is shown to the media after his arrest at the high security prison of Almoloya de Juarez, on the outskirts of Mexico City. Guzman escaped from a maximum security federal prison in 2001 and continues to be a fugitive. On Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, the Chicago Crime Commission and the Drug Enforcement Administration is scheduled to name Guzman, the head of Mexico's Sinaloa crime cartel, as the new Public Enemy No. 1., the first time since Prohibition-era gangster Al Capone that authorities in the city deemed a crime figure so ominous a threat to deserve the label. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Damian Dovarganes

Some of the people on Forbes' billionaires list are obvious. Warren Buffett is one. So is Bill Gates, who has been making the list since the 1980s. Other wealthy magnates are more difficult to confirm.

That includes notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera. Forbes reports they dropped him from this year's list, partly because authorities aren't quite sure where he is and if he is even alive.

"Forbes has been unable to reach him to verify figures and believes an increasing chunk of money is going to protect him and his family," the magazine reports.

It would be quite remarkable if the money magazine was able to "reach him," considering the Mexican drug lord is one of the most elusive figures in the world.

Officials have been trying to capture "El Chapo," a.k.a "Shorty," since he escaped a maximum security prison in Mexico in a laundry cart in 2001. As the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, he is believed to be responsible for hundreds of slayings. He overtook Osama bin Laden as Public Enemy No. 1 when the al Qaeda leader was killed in 2011.

Reports first emerged about the drug lord's death in February, but Guatemalan officials soon said the rumors were misleading. He is widely believed to be alive and well.

Guzman was on the Forbes' billionaire list in 2012 -- for the fourth year in a row -- along with drug lords Pablo Escobar and the Ochoa brothers. The magazine reported he controlled an estimated 25 percent of the illegal drug trade and was worth about $1 billion.

This year, however, Forbes says Guzman is "no longer someone we are confident enough to call a billionaire."

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