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By: JJ Martin

Sentry Staff Reporter

Running From the Law

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera is proclaimed the world’s most powerful drug trafficker by law enforcement agencies across the world. His cartel is responsible for an estimated 25% of all illegal drugs that enter the U.S. via Mexico. Drug enforcement experts estimate  the cartel’s annual revenue may exceed $3 billion.

On February 22, Mexican navy commandos arrested Guzmán, on his fourth floor condo complex in Mazatlán, Sinaloa without anyone being harmed. Before he was arrested, he was the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, and according to the Drug Enforcement Agency, he is the “godfather of the drug world.” He took over the Sinaloa Cartel on June 23, 1995 and soon was taken into custody in 2001. He quickly escaped and enlarged his drug operations later. The cartel ships multi-ton shipments of cocaine into the United States, the world’s top consumer, and makes billion of dollars annually. Forbes lists Guzmán in its World’s Billionaires list and  as the tenth richest man in Mexico.  The U.S. Department of Treasury calls El Chapo the “most powerful drug kingpin in the world.” Leading up to his arrest there was a reward of 5,000,000 U.S dollars and 30,000,000 pesos.  Guzmán is awaiting trial in Mexico for a  judge to decide if he will be extradited to the U.S. where he faces charges of drug-trafficking  in New York, Texas, California and Chicago, who named him public enemy number one.

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was arrested on February 22 Photo from Google Images

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was arrested on February 22
Photo from Google Images

One Small Step

A federal judge in Norfolk struck down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage on February 13 saying the country has “arrived upon another moment in history when We the People becomes more inclusive, and our freedom more perfect.”

In a legal issue that is sweeping across the world, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender or LBGT, activists gained a victory on February 14 when the Virginia gay marriage ban was overturned. In a statement, Judge Arenda Wright Allen said,

“The Court is compelled to conclude that the Virginia Marriage Laws unconstitutionally deny Virginia LBGT citizens the fundamental freedom to choose to marry.”

When first created in 2006, former Governor Bob McDonnell and his staff strongly advocated the state’s ban. However with the recent elections and new officials, Attorney General Mark R. Herring said,

“It’s time for the commonwealth to be on the right side of history and the right side of the law.”

Two lawyers, Theodore B. Olson and David Boies who successfully contested California’s ban in 2010, challenged the ban on the behalf of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. As of right now, there are 17 states and 16 countries that recognize gay marriage.  The ban overturning will not take effect until all appeals are heard.

I Fooled You

An art forger’s goal is to pass off a famous piece of artwork and make thousands of dollars off it, while no one is the wiser, but Wolfgang Beltracchi took forgery to a whole new level.


Wolfgang Beltracchi and one of his forgeries Photo from Google Images

Wolfgang Beltracchi and one of his forgeries
Photo from Google Images

Instead of copying famous artists such as Max Ernst, Heinrich Campendonk, Fernand Leger and Kees Van Dongen, he painted pieces that he believed the artist might have or felt like painting. In a interview on 60 Minutes with Bob Simon, he replied,

“I think I’m the best art forger in the world.”

Beltracchi’s career started 40 years ago when he was kicked out of art school for copying Pablo Picasso, at the age of 17. In 1992, he married his wife, Helene, and his career jump started. To make his paintings credible, Helene said her grandfather hid many pieces of artwork in his country estate from the Germans during World War II and when he died, she inherited all the art. Also  Beltracchi stained labels with tea or coffee to make them look realistic. In 2010, he and his wife were caught using white titanium paint, a type of paint not used until the 1920’s, on piece he was trying to pass off as  early Max Ernst. In 2011, he and his wife were sentenced to six years in jail and are facing a lawsuit of 27 million dollars.  Beltracchi says he has sold nearly 300 pieces of art all across the world, but police have only found 36.

“I think I’m one of the most exhibited painters in art museums of the world,” said Beltracchi.

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The student news site of Yorktown High School
Under a Rock