The infamous drug lord “El Chapo” sued a cartel news focused-blog and several Mexican newspapers for publishing a photo of his California driver’s license in 2013. Univision originally exposed the matter, but it is not named in the recent suit. The document in question revealed that the cartel leader managed to receive a valid ID using a fake name.
While the Univision story and reprints were published in 2013, it wasn’t until September 2020 when California attorney Jeffrey Mendleman filed a lawsuit against Borderland Beat, Blogger.com, Google LLC, and several Mexican newspapers including Reforma and El Manana. Several social media accounts publishing citizen journalism are also named.
In the case filed in the Northern District of California, the lawyer for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman asks that the convicted drug lord be allowed to file the lawsuit under “John Doe” to protect his client from “the risk that defendants publish additional articles based on the litigation disclosing his identity.”
Mendleman claims that on June 23, 2020, Borderland Beat published an unredacted photograph of a driver’s license belonging to John Doe (El Chapo) that showed his license number, date of birth, address, and signature. In the suit, El Chapo is asking for $250,000 in damages. The Mexican newspapers and citizen journalists named in the lawsuit also printed stories about the driver’s license.
What the lawsuit does not mention is that in November 2013, Univision ran a special segment about El Chapo revealing that despite being a wanted drug lord in the U.S., he managed to get a California driver’s license in 1988. The information for Univision’s segment was originally attributed to a file from the DEA. In 2013, Borderland Beat aggregated Univision’s reporting and used the images from the story.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.