Despite the State Department's $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest, Guzman's drug empire continued to flourish, reaching to places as far away as Europe and Australia, thanks to a sophisticated international distribution system.
Michael S. Vigil, a former senior DEA official who was briefed on the operation, told the AP it was Guzman's complacency that ultimately led to his capture.
"He got tired of living up in the mountains and not being able to enjoy the comforts of his wealth," Vigil said. "He became complacent and started coming into the city of Culiacan and Mazatlan. That was a fatal error."
Vigil also said Guzman may be extradited to the U.S. as it "would be a massive black eye on the (Mexican) government" if he escaped from prison a second time.
Last February, the Chicago Crime Commission branded Guzman the first "Public Enemy No. 1" since Al Capone, leading to him being dubbed as "El Chapone," in the shadow of Chicago's other great criminal.
The DEA has said in the past that as much as 90 percent of the marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other illegal drugs sold on the streets of Chicago are supplied by the Sinaloa cartel. Guzman is also charged with drug trafficking, murder, kidnapping and other crimes in New York.
The alleged drug kingpin has also long been ranked among the richest men in the world by Forbes and drug enforcement experts had conservatively estimated the cartel's revenues at over$3 billion annually.
Before his infamous 2001 Mexican prison escape, Guzman had been serving a 20-year sentence for bribery and criminal association.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.