As far as authorities know El Chapo has never even been to Chicago, but he is still considered the most dangerous man in the city.
Mexican billionaire Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, considered by most to be “the world’s most powerful drug trafficker,” was named Public Enemy Number One in Chicago by the DEA and The Chicago Crime Commission on Valentine’s Day. The same title was given to Al Capone at “the height of Prohibition” in the 1930’s. The commission’s vice president Art Bilek even compared El Chapo to Capone when making the announcement last week. He said, “What Al Capone was to beer and whiskey, Guzman is to narcotics.” He also said the designation was deserved by Guzman because of the “viciousness, the evil and the power of this man.”
According to Forbes,
Guzman is accused of trafficking 1,500 to 2,000 kilograms of cocaine through Chicago each month. Although he doesn’t live in Chicago and is never known to have visited the Windy City, he faces federal charges for drug trafficking in collaboration with 35 other defendants. The Northern District of Illinois is seeking the forfeiture of more than $1.8 billion in cash proceeds through its indictment against him. Chicago Crime Commission’s Bilek said Guzman is a greater threat than Capone ever was. “If I was to put those two guys in a ring, El Chapo would eat that guy (Capone) alive,” Bilek said.
With the death of terrorist Osama Bin Laden in 2011, Guzman became the most wanted man in the world. The U.S. State Department has placed a $ 5 million bounty on his head. In Mexico, El Chapo, or “Shorty,” as he is universally known, is largely responsible for the 70,000 people who lost their lives during the controversial war on drugs that took place under the PAN party center-right administration of former President Felipe Calderón.
Many experts assert that the administration of President Felipe Calderón intentionally “left Guzman untouched,” and instead focused on his competition. An expert on organized crime, Edgardo Buscaglia told The Economist in a 2010 interview that, “The government’s strategy is to focus on the weakest groups, so that the organized crime market will consolidate itself around Sinaloa. They’re hoping to negotiate a decrease in violence with that one group.” And there is no question that El Chapo, and the Sinaloa Cartel that he controls is far from being weak. Reports indicate that “El Chapo controls at least 60,000 square km (23,000 square miles) of rugged mountains in Sinaloa and Durango.” One Mexican government official said, “You’d need 100,000 soldiers surrounding the area and even then I’m not sure you’d succeed [in capturing him].”
Photo: AP/Damian Dovarganes