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Everything We Know About El Chapo’s Sons, ‘Los Chapitos’

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.The botched and bloody Mexican operation to capture one of El Chapo’s sons Thursday puts the international spotlight on the drug kingpin’s grown children, who’ve taken on key roles in the Sinaloa Cartel since their father’s been behind bars. Culiacán, a stronghold of…

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Everything We Know About El Chapo’s Sons, ‘Los Chapitos’

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The botched and bloody Mexican operation to capture one of El Chapo’s sons Thursday puts the international spotlight on the drug kingpin’s grown children, who’ve taken on key roles in the Sinaloa Cartel since their father’s been behind bars.

Culiacán, a stronghold of the cartel, broke out in violence Thursday as Mexican authorities captured 28-year-old Ovidio Guzmán López — who’s wanted in both Mexico and the United States — and then released him amid a full-scale shootout with cartel members in broad daylight that left cars burning and civilians running for cover.

The local cops reportedly stumbled upon Ovidio at a Culiacán house and moved in to try to capture him without military support, and were ill-prepared for the firefight that ensued, said Mexico’s top army general. Another of Chapo’s sons, Iván Archivaldo Guzmán, was also rumored to have been captured and released, but his situation remains unconfirmed amid the chaos.

Ovidio and Ivan are just two of Chapo’s sons, known collectively as “Los Chapitos” — or “Los Menores,” The Minors — who’ve become targets for U.S. and Mexican authorities. The Department of Justice charged Ovidio and Joaquín Guzman López with drug trafficking in February and have been trying to track them down ever since.

El Chapo has a lot of sons: The official count is 15, but up to 24 people are rumored to be his offspring. Most of them aren’t in the cartel business, but at least four are said to be key players — and they’ve been continuously staving off challenges to their power since their dad’s imprisonment. They’re thought to control the local drug trade in Culiacán, Mazatlán, Guamúchil, and other Sinaloan cities, and they use groups of gunmen, notably one called “Los Demonios,” or the Demons, to enforce their rule.

Still, the top dog in the cartel remains Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada García, who ran it in partnership with Chapo.

“When Chapo Guzmán was extradited to the U.S., the Chaptios wanted to manage the Sinaloa Cartel, but they were prevented from doing so by Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada because he knew that the cartel would be decimated,” Mike Vigil, the former chief of International Operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration, told VICE News.

“Gúzman’s sons have never gotten their hands dirty. They were very good at spending their father’s money buying luxurious cars, gold-plated AK-47s, running around with girlfriends,” he added. “They don’t really have the respect of the rank-and-file of the Sinaloa Cartel.”

Here’s what you need to know about Los Chapitos.

Ovidio Guzmán López

Nicknamed “El Ratón” (the mouse), the child of Chapo’s second marriage is at the center of the Culiacán mayhem, reportedly captured by authorities. He’s been wanted for years.

After the cartel opened fire on authorities in the streets, the Mexican government deemed the threat of violence to civilians too high. And they let him go.

The U.S. Treasury Department designated him and his brother Iván as key lieutenants in the Sinaloa cartel. He’s wanted by the U.S. on drug trafficking charges issued in February.

Iván Archivaldo Guzmán

He’s El Chapo’s eldest son at 39 years old, a key Chapito who’s reportedly been trying to wrest power from former Sinaloa Cartel leaders, some of whom are now the Chapitos’ rivals.

There were conflicting reports Friday about whether he’d been captured in the raid that ensnared brother Ovidio.

Ivan and another brother, Alfredo, were briefly taken hostage by the rival Jalisco New Generation cartel while their dad was still running the show from prison in 2016.

Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar

Generally referred to as Alfredo or “Alfredillo,” he’s on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s most wanted list, the only one of Chapo’s kids to have that distinction.

He’s believed to be running parts of the cartel with brother Iván. And he’s not doing it humbly.

Afredo’s become known for his lavish lifestyle, which he flaunts without reservation on social media, despite being one of the DEA’s most wanted. He was reportedly partying a lot rather than taking his drug trafficking job seriously while being groomed to take a leadership role in the cartel when he was kidnapped by the Jalisco New Generation cartel in 2016 with Iván.

Joaquín Guzmán López

Little is known about Joaquín. He’s kept a relatively low profile compared to his brothers, but he does appear to be directly involved in cartel operations.

The Department of Justice charged him, along with Iván, with drug trafficking back in February.

Correction 10/19 7:11 p.m.: A previous version of this article included a photo of a man the Mexican marines incorrectly identified as Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar in 2012. It has been replaced.

Keegan Hamilton contributed reporting.

Cover: Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar (Image via DEA’s “most wanted fugitives” list)

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Here’s What JUUL Allegedly Thinks of Its Customers

JUUL’s marketing strategy over the years has essentially positioned the company as the Cool Girl of the tobacco industry; JUUL isn’t like the other girls that want to get people hooked on cigarettes that will eventually kill them, JUUL wants to hold its customers’ hands and lead them gently toward a better, and a claims-to-be…

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Here’s What JUUL Allegedly Thinks of Its Customers

JUUL’s marketing strategy over the years has essentially positioned the company as the Cool Girl of the tobacco industry; JUUL isn’t like the other girls that want to get people hooked on cigarettes that will eventually kill them, JUUL wants to hold its customers’ hands and lead them gently toward a better, and a claims-to-be healthier (yet unproven), lifestyle. Its branding and advertising has centered around the idea that cigarettes are bad and JUUL is good. “Make the Switch,” the company encouraged (until a month ago, when the company pivoted away from the slogan in a series of internal decisions). “We certainly don’t want youth using the product,” the company said, as it pulled flavors from shelves.

A lawsuit filed this week by Siddharth Breja, a former JUUL executive, makes it seem like the company never actually believed any of its own moral signaling. The lawsuit claims that former JUUL CEO Kevin Burns brushed off concerns that his company was shipping at least a million contaminated pods earlier this year, dismissing his customers as “drunk” people who “vape like mo-fos.” As BuzzFeed News reports, Breja alleges he was wrongfully terminated in March 2019 for raising concerns about the shipment of bad pods.

Are you a current or former JUUL employee? We’d love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Hannah Smothers securely on Signal on (908) 485-7021, or email hannah.smothers@vice.com.

This is damning for a company that has held its nose above the fray of third-party and counterfeit pods, which JUUL has openly and consistently blamed for containing unregulated, potentially harmful contents. According to details from the lawsuit obtained by BuzzFeed News, in February 2019, Breja protested selling pods that were nearly a year old by the time they shipped, and asked the company to at least include an expiration or manufacture date on the packaging. Burns allegedly shot this down, saying, “Half our customers are drunk and vaping like mo-fos, who the fuck is going to notice the quality of our pods.”

The answer to that is… a lot of people. The problem with having an extremely devoted customer base is they tend to be a bit obsessed with the product. Stan culture misses nothing. A smattering of posts from the r/juul subreddit complain of declining pod quality; while these complaints aren’t necessarily related to the shipment mentioned in the lawsuit, they show how dedicated and attentive avid JUULers are. Posts from the subreddit routinely compare clarity of pod juice and complain of anything suspect, like leaking pods or pods that are already brown (signifying age, perhaps) when opened. It’s impossible to speak to the mental state of the people posting about pod quality online, but even if they are, in fact, “drunk and vaping like mo-fos,” they’re still very much noticing the quality of JUUL’s products.

Update: On Wednesday evening, a spokesman for Kevin Burns passed along the following statement to VICE: “I never said this, or anything remotely close to this, period. As CEO, I had the company make huge investments in product quality and the facts will show this claim is absolutely false and pure fiction.”

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There Is Such a Thing As Too Much Yoga

From not stress-eating entire tubes of unbaked crescent roll dough, to only smoking like one or two cigarettes, and only when you’re drunk, and only every two or three weeks, the key to living a healthy lifestyle lies in practicing moderation. The same goes for yoga, if this latest news is to be believed: A…

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There Is Such a Thing As Too Much Yoga

From not stress-eating entire tubes of unbaked crescent roll dough, to only smoking like one or two cigarettes, and only when you’re drunk, and only every two or three weeks, the key to living a healthy lifestyle lies in practicing moderation. The same goes for yoga, if this latest news is to be believed: A British physiotherapist named Benoy Matthews told BBC News that he has seen a rise in serious hip problems among yoga instructors. The problem lies with people pushing themselves too hard in an effort to achieve all the “prescribed” poses, even when your body is screaming “NO PLEASE NOT THE TRIPLE HEADSTAND WITH LOTUS LEGS I HAVE A WIFE AND KIDS” because it literally can’t stretch that far.

Various outlets and sources have been reporting for years that 2 Much 2 Yoga can cause serious injury, with the associated risks often differentiating by gender. Men often let minor injuries build up until they have to hit up the emergency room for something way more serious because they’re too concerned about seeming brave and invulnerable, while women, who tend to be more flexible, can put wear and tear on their hip joints and other parts of the body if they don’t give their increased flexibility the proper support.

“What’s achievable for one might not be achievable for others,” Matthews said to the BBC. “People tend to do the same set positions, rather than what’s achievable for them.”

In the worst case scenarios, Matthews warns of keyhole surgeries and even total hip replacements.

“We all know about the health benefits of yoga—I practice it myself,” he said. “But, like anything, it can cause injury. We can’t put it on a pedestal.”

The Cut seems to think that this rise in yogi hip injuries has something to do with Instagram—that we’re all trying to do impossible poses that push our bodies beyond their limits for the sake of likes and posi comments. That’s-a spicy take-a-ball! But also a somewhat reachy take-a-ball, since not everyone who does yoga is doing yoga on Instagram.

It’s not clear why we lean so hard on new health activities, especially low-impact ones, that we crush all the life out of it. But what we need instead of “more yoga than a body can possibly bear” is to do things in moderation. You like yoga? Do yoga, but not so much yoga that you hurt yourself. If you feel pain, stop, maybe seek help, and/or rest up. If part of your yoga practice is to put yourself more in touch with your body, why not start by listening to her horrible screams of agony?

“You have to know your limits,” Matthews said. “I don’t want to denounce yoga, after all it’s been going for thousands of years. But you have to understand yourself.”

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Would You Take Poop Pics for Science?

What can be learned from a humble piece of poop? What we expel is but a reflection of what we consume and what lies inside, hidden from view. In this way, to examine our poop is to examine ourselves… Or at least this is what the creators a new, crowdsourced poop database believe. Scientists with…

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Would You Take Poop Pics for Science?

What can be learned from a humble piece of poop? What we expel is but a reflection of what we consume and what lies inside, hidden from view. In this way, to examine our poop is to examine ourselves… Or at least this is what the creators a new, crowdsourced poop database believe.

Scientists with Seed Health, a microbial health company, are crowdsourcing a dookie database with the ultimate goal of using pictures of human waste to train an artificial intelligence platform launched out of MIT to recognize the difference between healthy and unhealthy poop. They hope to collect at least 100,000 poop pics, which a team of seven gastroenterologists will take notes on to train the AI platform. Developers hope that the database will ultimately help people with chronic gut conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, according to the Verge.

Science can often sound kinda boring, but this is one instance where it’s actually very cool. For instance: Before launching the campaign to source real poop pics for the database, scientists started training the app that people will use to submit dump photos to recognize different kinds of poop by molding Play-Doh into poo shapes. Play-Doh kinda looks like poop just straight out of the little plastic tub, but, for accuracy’s sake, the developers molded it along the Bristol stool chart. This means they ostensibly shaped some of the Play-Doh to look like diarrhea, which is… pretty impressive! As the Verge reports, the scientists also 3D printed a whole-ass toilet, to emulate how things would look in real life.

But now the real work begins. Seed just launched its proprietary app for safely collecting the data, along with its campaign to collect the 100,000 poo pics. People who wish to contribute their waste to science can do so by going to seed.com/poop on their phone (not a laptop), and clicking on the button that says #GIVEaSHIT. They’ll then be asked for an email address and whether they’re a morning, afternoon, or evening dumper. From there, one is able to submit poop pics with anonymity—all metadata will be separated from the pics, for privacy and HIPAA compliance, before the photos are annotated by scientists.

It is, apparently, already very much a thing to post pics of poop online: There are multiple subreddits (which I will not link here) developed to poo rating and discussion; posting dookie pics on Instagram is so popular that it has its own community of #Poopstagram-ers (yes, this is allowed by Instagram’s terms of service). This seems extremely intimate and vulnerable, given what poop can reveal about a person’s lifestyle, but I suppose that’s the beauty in posting. Now interested parties can build upon the urge to share their toilet achievements by doing so for science, for the greater good of health and mankind. Onward and upward.

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