Last March, Jose Luis Montenegro, a Mexican journalist who wrote a brief e-book on the children of drug traffickers, published a blockbuster piece for The Guardian on Rosa Isela Guzman Ortiz, the woman he described as the unknown eldest daughter of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán.
The woman he described as a “39-year-old American” runs a “small chain of carwashes, beauty salons and cafes.” Her businesses are doing “very well,” he said, “judging by the Rolex on her wrist, the Louis Vuitton bag at her feet and the Mercedes Benz parked outside.”
No such accoutrements were in sight when Rosa Isela appeared at El Chapo’s Brooklyn court date last month, outfitted in too-long long pants that trailed through puddles. The drug lord is facing a slew of charges in the U.S. involving drug trafficking, money laundering, and firearms. Rosa Isela was accompanied by Jose Luis Gonzalez Meza, a man who presented himself as a “human rights lawyer” and claimed he once served as the drug lord’s counsel in Mexico. (He is not part of the team of Mexican attorneys who work alongside El Chapo’s American attorneys.) After an interview in Spanish, in which she said she’s happy her dad is treated better in U.S. prisons than in Mexico, Rosa Isela and Meza traipsed through the rain to hail not a Mercedes Benz but a green cab.