Sometime between September and October last year — more than a month after he had broken out of a high-security prison in Mexico — Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán felt secure enough in his freedom to undergo elective male-enhancement surgery at a Tijuana hospital.
According to Mexican newspaper Reforma, which spoke to sources close to the investigation, Guzmán received a testicular implant to improve blood circulation and alleviate erectile dysfunction, which, according to the sources, afflicted the drug kingpin.
According to Mexican journalist Carlos Loret, cited by Sin Embargo, the only time Guzmán left his “comfort zone” in his cartel’s home turf in Sinaloa state was to get the surgery in Tijuana, which is just south of the US city of San Diego.
“According to sources at the first level in the National Security Commission, [Guzmán] went to Tijuana to receive a aesthetic treatment and undergo a surgery to implant a prosthesis, a procedure that usually requires general anesthetic and an operating room, ” which could not be done in the mountains of Sinaloa, according to Loret.
According to Loret, Mexican authorities also recovered injectable testosterone, syringes, antibiotics, anti-inflammitories, and a pharmacy note for more than 4,000 pesos’ worth of drugs to improve sexual performance from the home where he was recaptured on January 8.
After the surgery, Guzmán, who is believed to be about 60 years old and has several children with multiple wives, presumably had his meeting with American actor Sean Penn and Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, the latter of whom the Sinaloa cartel leader had apparently been carrying on a long and torrid flirtation.
The amorous communications between Guzmán and del Castillo reportedly helped organise the meeting with Penn sometime in October, but it seems that del Castillo was not the only recipient of the Sinaloa chief’s affection.
According to intelligence sources cited by El Universal, Guzmán spent Christmas last year with his current wife and daughters, but just a few days later spent New Year’s with Lucero Guadalupe Sánchez López, who is a local legislator in Mexico’s conservative National Action Party (PAN).
Guzmán reportedly welcomed the new year with Sanchez Lopez and his security chief “El Cholo” Ivan (who was also arrested with Guzmán this month) in Guamúchil, a city on Sinaloa’s Pacific coast about halfway between the state capital of Culiacán and Los Mochis, the city where Guzmán was caught this month.
This is not Sanchez Lopez’s first time being linked to Guzmán; in June 2015, it was reported that she visited Guzmán at Altiplano prison. She denied knowing the drug lord, even though one of his lawyers said she had done so.
The DEA said after Guzmán escaped prison in July that allegations she and he had conceived a child while he was jailed were untrue.
Guzmán is not the first Mexican drug lord to go under the knife. Amado Carrillo Fuentes, who steered the Juarez cartel to prominence in the mid-1990s, died while getting plastic surgery in 1997.