Chicago has named Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán th e city’s first “Public Enemy No. 1” since the Al Capone era, even though Guzmán does not live in the United States and has never visited the city.
The Chicago Crime Commission (CCC) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said that Guzmán’s organization, based in Mexico, has steadily supplied most of the narcotics flowing through the city, making him the city’s top crime boss.
The Public Enemy No. 1 moniker has only ever been given to Capone, a notorious Mafia leader who terrorized the streets of Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s, but the CCC holds that Guzmán is even worse.
“Compared to Guzmán, Al Capone looks like an amateur,” said J. R. Davis, president and chairman of the CCC, in a press release. “Guzmán is currently heading the largest and most powerful crime organization in Mexico.”
“Guzmán is the major supplier of narcotics to Chicago,” he said. “His agents are working in the Chicago area importing vast quantities of drugs for sale throughout the Chicago region and collecting and sending to Mexico tens of millions of dollars in drug money.”
If Capone and Guzmán’s forces were to theoretically do battle today, “it wouldn’t be a fight,” according to Chicago DEA Special Agent in Charge Jack Riley. “His ability to corrupt and enforce his sanctions with his endless supply of revenue is more powerful than Chicago’s Italian organized crime gang,” he said.
The Sinaloa cartel has allegedly smuggled cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and other drugs between the United States and Mexico, and Chicago has been deemed a crucial recipient and transit hub for the narcotics, according to authorities.
“The Sinaloa Cartel has found willing business partners among the 100,000 street gang members in Chicago and in the suburb,” said CCC Executive Vice President Arthur Bilek.
In Mexico, the Sinaloa cartel has battled with other cartels and Mexican authorities for control over territory, leaving thousands of people dead in recent years.
“Additionally, because of the violence associated with gangs and the drug trade, you can say that Guzmán’s fingerprints are on much of the violence plaguing Chicago today,” Bilek continued.
Guzmán is believed to be hiding somewhere in the mountains in Sierra Madre, located in western Mexico, surrounded by swarms of armed henchmen. Forbes magazine has estimated that he is worth around $1 billion.
The United States has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Guzmán’s capture. Mexican authorities have stated that they would add another $2 million to that figure.
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