Rich People With Ties to Organized Crime
As many people throughout the world have found, you don’t always have to earn your millions (or even billions) through legitimate means. Whether it’s drugs, guns, or political favors that these mobsters trade in, many of them have found that the risks are well worth it.
Organized crime provides an income to millions of people around the world, who take advantage of police fears and lax laws, as well as their vast networks honed over generations to rake in billions per year in illegal revenue.
As well, the leaders of these outfits are not as shadowy and secretive as you may think. The media has been able to gather tons of information about them (including the names of some of their more famous associates), even if the police haven’t found enough to jail them for life. Here are some fun facts about the richest people tied to organized criminals in the world.
1. Joaquin Guzman Loera and Ismael Zambada Garcia
Joaquin Guzman Loera and Ismael Zambada Garcia are the co-founders of the Sinaloa drug cartel, which is based out of Mexico — primarily in the areas of Baja California, Durango, Sonora, and Chihuahua. These two men currently control a very large percentage of the opium and marijuana production in the area, and they import their products primarily to the United States.
In 2008, police officers arrested six of the top organizers of the cartel, including Loera’s cousin, Alfonso. In addition to making six arrests, officers also seized a huge stash of weapons including three grenades. In the 26 years that the cartel has been in operation, it is estimated that they have sold at least 200 tons of methamphetamines, and each of the leaders has amassed a net worth of at least $1 billion.
2. Semion Mogilevich
Supposedly the leader of the Russian mafia, Ukrainian-born Semion Mogilevich has been wanted by police since 2009 for his connection with mafia-related drug smuggling, contract hits, and racketeering.
He rose to prominence as the head of the Russian mafia after he gained control of the powerful Solntsevskaya Bratva- a powerful crime syndicate centrally located in a downtown Moscow neighborhood. Mogilevich is known among his associates as Don Semion, or the Brainy Don because of his degree in economics.
Some people even accuse President Vladimir Putin of allowing Mogilevich special immunities and privileges in exchange for his support. This special treatment has allegedly prevented his capture by the FBI on numerous occasions.
3. Matteo Messina Denaro
The current head of the Sicilian mafia (also called the Cosa Nostra), Matteo Messina Denaro is the man at the top of a huge chain of criminal activity that is thought to rake in more than $10 billion per year.
The Cosa Nostra has been in existence in some form since the 1800s, and in 2008, Denaro was elected by his fellow members to serve as the leader of the organization, possibly because many of the older and more experienced members were in jail. He has a reputation for enjoying the simple pleasures in life: wine, women, and fast cars. He narrowly escaped capture in 2011, and remains one of the top fugitives in the world.