In more than a decade on the run, Guzman transformed himself from a middling Mexican capo into arguably the most powerful drug trafficker in the world. His fortune has grown to more than $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine, which listed him among the "World's Most Powerful People" and ranked him above the presidents of France and Venezuela.
His Sinaloa Cartel grew bloodier and more powerful, taking over much of the lucrative trafficking routes along the U.S. border, including such prized cities as Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez.
Guzman's play for power against local cartels caused a bloodbath in Tijuana and made Juarez one of the deadliest cities in the world.
His cartel's tentacles now extend as far as Australia thanks to a sophisticated, international distribution system for cocaine and methamphetamine.
Guzman did all that with a $7 million bounty on his head and while evading thousands of law enforcement agents from the U.S. and other countries. A U.S. federal indictment unsealed in San Diego in 1995 charges Guzman and 22 members of his organization with conspiracy to import over eight tons of cocaine and money laundering. A provisional arrest warrant was issued as a result of the indictment, according to the U.S. State Department.
He also has been indicted by federal authorities in the United States several times since 1996. The charges include allegations that he and others conspired to smuggle "multi-ton quantities" of cocaine into the U.S. and used violence, including murder, kidnapping and torture to keep the smuggling operation running.
In 2013, he was named "Public Enemy No. 1" by the Chicago Crime Commission, only the second person to get that distinction after U.S. prohibition-era crime boss Al Capone.
An estimated 70,000 people have been killed in drug violence since former President Calderon deployed thousands of soldiers to drug hotspots upon taking office on Dec. 1, 2006. Mexico's current government has stopped tallying drug-related killings separately.
Stevenson contributed to this report in Mexico City. Spagat reported from San Diego, California, and Caldwell from Washington, D.C. Associated Press writers E. Eduardo Castillo, Katherine Corcoran in Mexico City and Eileen Sullivan Washington contributed to this report.