Drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in custody on January 8, 2016.

A timeline of El Chapo's reign on the run

Updated 10:09 AM ET, Thu August 4, 2016

(CNN)How did the diminutive son of a Mexican farming family end up becoming one of the most notorious and powerful drug lords in the world? The story of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's life often inspires legend, in part because of one maddening truth: He simply wouldn't stay caught. Follow the kingpin's life, from his beginnings in Sinaloa to his current incarceration in a high-security prison.

A drug trade superpower is born

Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera, known as "El Chapo," was born in La Tuna, Badiraguato, Sinaloa, Mexico sometime in the 1950s. (Officials have released conflicting birth dates). In the 1970s, Guzman began his life of organized crime, working for prominent drug lords including Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, the leader of the Guadalajara cartel, who recruited Guzman in the 1980s.
Guzman in 1993.

El Chapo climbs the ranks

Guzman's mentor Felix Gallardo was arrested in 1989. At the time of his arrest, the powerful, sprawling Guadalajara Cartel was being split into individually-controlled factions. The faction under Guzman's control became the Sinaloa Cartel, which in the ensuing years moved billions upon billions of dollars in marijuana, cocaine and heroin. It is during this time that Guzman's activities were first detected by the United States.