Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman always avoided the camera. Few images of the man exist. The same cannot be said of his children and closest confidantes.
El Chapo, of course, was captured over the weekend in the Pacific resort town of Mazatlan. He's worth an estimated $1 billion, and holds near mythic status as the kingpin of one of the wealthiest, most powerful, and tech-savvy cartels. He reportedly surrendered without struggle, and walked out of a fourth-floor apartment with a team of Mexican marines.
The strangest aspect of this story is what has surfaced about those close to him. Vocativ's Duncan Tucker combed the social media feeds of his offspring and others close to him, and found that they weren't very good at being discrete about the wealth El Chapo's empire had created.
"You search for my dad but he's at ease right in front of you all and you don't even realize," his son, Alfredo Guzmán, once tweeted, as highlighted by Tucker. Under a photo alleging to show Mexican soldiers driving beside his car—which would confirm suspicions of the government's involvement with the cartels—he wrote this caption: "These guys escort me. It's best for them that way and they know it."
Alfredo shared images on his Twitter of cheetahs, tigers, stacks of cash, and Lamborghinis. I took my own tour through the cartel kids' social feeds, and found tha Alfredo also posted a photo of a dead man that was sent to him, seemingly a victim of his father's dealings. Alfredo is careful to blur out faces in some of the photos, but he is not careful enough to deny himself the pleasure of bragging about the illustrious lifestyle he's been able to live at the cost of others' lives.
Some photos show propeller airplanes parked at makeshift landing strips. You can't help but wonder what, if anything, might be inside.
Another member of the cartel, from the Anthrax hit squad, is José Aréchiga Gamboa. "El Chino Ántrax," as he's known, shared photos on his Twitter and Instagram of even more expensive cars, bejeweled guns, more tigers, and Paris Hilton.
El Chino's not just sharing this stuff with his friends, either. He has over 26,000 followers on Instagram alone.
And then there is Serafin Zambada, the son of Ismael "El Mayo" Zamabada, El Chapo's partner. The faces in his photos are not blurred, and some of them explicitly show evidence of murders committed by the cartel. He too shares pictures of expensive purchases, but he also has a photo posted on his Facebook of a man cut open in the stomach, bleeding out, and he refers to this man as a "rat" who got what was coming to him.
Perhaps subtlety is not these kids' strong suit.