During El Chapo’s imprisonment from June 9, 1993 to January 19, 2001, Zambada helped orchestrate his escape from El Grande prison in a laundry cart after his electronically wired cell door inexplicably flew open and video cameras went dark. The feat became known as the “golden kilogram”—an allusion to the weight of the gold used to bribe those who helped the kingpin gain freedom.
El Mayo is also allied with Juan José "El Azul " Esparragoza Moreno, one of the most astute lords in Mexico’s underworld and, by far, its best negotiator. El Azul, so called because of the blue tint to his skin, combines the bargaining skills of a Talleyrand, the strategic instincts of a Henry Kissinger, and the low-keyed personality of a squint-eyed accountant. Aligned with the Juárez Cartel until the July 1997 death of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, he cast his lot with the Sinaloa Cartel after El Chapo rolled out of the Puente Grande prison in a laundry cart. Although a power in the Sinaloa syndicate, Esparragoza has carved out a fiefdom in