crimesider

Joaquin Guzman, cartel kingpin in Mexico, named as public enemy No. 1 in Chicago, authorities say

Joaquin Guzman is shown to the media after his arrest at a high security prison on the outskirts of Mexico City on June 10, 1993
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File

(CBS/AP) CHICAGO - A drug kingpin in Mexico was listed as Public Enemy No. 1 in Chicago, a label that hasn't been used since Prohibition when it was given to Al Capone, authorities said Thursday.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is being singled out for his role as leader of the powerful Sinaloa cartel, which supplies the bulk of narcotics sold in the city, according to the Chicago Crime Commission and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

"Not since the Chicago Crime Commission's first Public Enemy No. 1 has any criminal deserved this title more than Joaquin Guzman," Chicago Crime Commission president J.R. Davis said Thursday.

The Chicago Crime Commission was founded in 1919 as a non-government body that tracks city crime trends. The organization designated Capone Public Enemy No. 1 in 1930. Other people were called public enemies, but Capone was the only one to ever be its No. 1.

Unlike Capone, Guzman doesn't live in Chicago. He lives hundreds of miles away in a mountain hideaway in western Mexico.

But for all the havoc he creates in the nation's third-largest city, he ought to be treated as a local Chicago crime boss, DEA's top Chicago official Jack Riley told The Associated Press. His office is joining the Chicago Crime Commission in handing out the moniker to Guzman.

"In my opinion, Guzman is the new Al Capone of Chicago," Riley said.

Capone based his bootlegging and other criminal enterprises out of Chicago during Prohibition, when it was illegal to make or sell alcohol in the U.S. He eventually went to prison for income tax evasion, but he gained the most notoriety for the St. Valentine's Day Massacre 84 years ago that left seven rivals dead.

Yet Riley said Guzman is more ruthless than Capone.

"If I was to put those two guys in a ring, El Chapo would eat that guy (Capone) alive," Riley said.

Sinaloa and other Mexican cartels shipping drugs to Chicago are rarely directly linked to slayings in the city, but Riley said cartel-led drug trafficking is an underlying cause of territorial battles between street gangs that are blamed for rising homicide rates. Riley described Chicago as one of Sinaloa's most important cities, not only as an end destination for drugs but as a hub to distribute drugs across the U.S.

"This is where Guzman turns his drugs into money," he said.

Guzman is one of the world's most dangerous and most wanted outlaws. He's also one of the richest: Forbes magazine has estimated the value of his fortune at around $1 billion.

Guzman has been indicted on federal trafficking charges in Chicago and, if he is ever captured alive, U.S. officials want him extradited here to face trial. The U.S. government has offered a $5 million reward for his capture.

"His time is coming," Riley said. "I can't wait for that day."

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