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Chicago's 'Public Enemy No. 1' Captured in Mexico

Chicago and the suburbs were a lucrative market for "El Chapo," a billionaire drug lord responsible for at least a fourth of the drugs imported from Mexico.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is led to a helicopter by Mexican marines Saturday.
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is led to a helicopter by Mexican marines Saturday.

CHICAGO — The billionaire drug lord who replaced Osama bin Laden as America's most wanted fugitive was captured Saturday by Mexican marines, DEA agents and U.S. marshals.

Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who flooded Chicago and the suburbs with heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine through local street gangs, was the first criminal to be listed as "Public Enemy No. 1" in Chicago since Al Capone.

Authorities waged a 12-year manhunt for Guzman, 56, finally taking him into custody at a high-rise condo in the seaside Mexican resort town of Mazatlan, according to CNN, where he hid behind steel-reinforced doors. Mexican marines and U.S. DEA agents planned the raid for more than a month.

Guzman now must be extradited to the United States. He has been indicted in several states, including Illinois, and federal officials in Chicago believe they have the strongest case against the global drug kingpin.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will decide where Guzman goes to trial.

Federal courts reporter Kim Janssen reports that two Chicago drug dealers, Pedro and Margarito Flores, turned on Guzman and provided evidence that not only linked Guzman to the Chicago drug trade but revealed Chicago to be the epicenter of his American operation.

Reports Janssen:

According to prosecutors, Margarito Flores traveled to Guzman’s Mexican mountaintop lair in October 2008. A month later, the brothers received a shipment of 20 kilos of heroin in Northlake. 

Federal authorities seized the dope. They said the brothers then recorded a series of phone calls with senior Sinaloa cartel figures, including Guzman, in which they discussed the quality of the product they said he supplied.

Last year, the Chicago Crime Commission declared Guzman the city’s “Public Enemy No. 1,” calling him “clearly more dangerous than Al Capone was at his height.”

Authorities said Guzman’s empire included marijuana plantations in Wisconsin’s secluded North Woods, where they found 10,000 plants in patches as large as football fields in 2011.

In 2009, Guzman was indicted in Chicago after the DEA confiscated $20 million and 2 tons of cocaine.

His empire is global, however, stretching from Europe to Australia and experts estimate his annual revenue at $3 billion. Forbes magazine listed Guzman as one of the world's most powerful people in 2012, ranking him at No. 67 ahead of the president of France. "CEO of the Sinaloa cartel, "El Chapo" is the world's most powerful drug trafficker. The cartel is responsible for an estimated 25% of all illegal drugs that enter the U.S. via Mexico," Forbes wrote.

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy called Guzman an "arch criminal," and said the power void created by Guzman's capture will soon be filled.

"When demand exists, supply will show up,” McCarthy told the Chicago Sun-Times Saturday.


Robert February 23, 2014 at 09:11 AM
"When demand exists, supply will show up,” McCarthy told the Chicago Sun-Times Saturday. Mandate Treatment, repeated treatment, treatment, treatment, treatment. Its cheaper than incarceration and it is the civil thing to do for society who suffers the consequenced of crime and violence from the drug sellers and buyers. When you don't salt the streets society gets in accidents, hurt and killed. When you don't treat the drug addict society gets hurt and killed. Decriminalizing cannabis was a big mistake. Could have saved lives, 99% of heroin addicts use cannabis. Politicians don't have a clue.
John Roberts February 23, 2014 at 11:30 AM
He ran the show on the run and he will run what ever prison he goes to and run the show from a U.S. Prison...we can not stop regular Street Gang members from running the show from behind prison walls...this man would have enough power still to be a dangerous person to have at their prison. Wonder if they will bust him out of a U.S prison... Like they did in Mexico...
John Roberts February 23, 2014 at 11:45 AM
Treatment...lmao....most people who do drugs in reality LIKE/LOVE to do them..thought about it all week while they WERE NOT doing drugs but going to work all week and just thinking about that cold beer and a $50 bag of coke and head to the bar....Everyone I ever saw that had cocaine on them were glad they had it and so were their friends....
John Roberts February 23, 2014 at 11:50 AM
Reality: LAW: GOVERNMENT MEMBERS ARE NOT AND CAN NOT BE SUBJECTED TO DRUG TESTS...KNOW WHY NO DRUG TESTS IN SOME STATES FOR PUBLIC AID? BECAUSE CITIZENS WANTED GOVERNMENT MEMBERS DRUG TESTED TOO...KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.
sklogw February 23, 2014 at 01:32 PM
This guy is on the Forbes list. You don't get that way from selling small amounts. I'm sure his clients bought more than what a welfare check could buy. The DEA need people like him, if they don't they are out of a job. Capturing him alive is the smartest thing they did. He can continue to run things, the war on Drugs can continue and people keep their jobs. Also, no one cares about drug addicts, they are drug addicts because they like it. When they get strung out, there will always be another one to replace them. Drug dealers thrive on weakness, much like casinos, fast food places, retailers, bars, tobacco companies ect. As long as there is a want, there will be people to cater to that want. Do casinos care if some shmuck gambles his kids college money on black jack? Does a fast food company care in a person with heart disease scarfs down burgers? Do retailers care if people put crap they don't need on credit cards and go into debt? Do they care if people get liver disease or drive drunk? Do they care if people get lung cancer? It is and will always be about the bottom line. It's about free will people. People have choices in this world and sadly people make good livings off of convincing people on which road to take. Look at phone companies and gas companies. The have people buy the short and curlies because we allow it. Ya gotta keep up with the Jones family and buy a SUV or an Apple something. Wasting tons of gas to go nowhere. Giving the cellular companies 500 dollars for a phone and up 200 dollars a month the use the that 500 dollar phone only to upgrade 1 year later for the newest 500 dollar phone. Those companies and your wants are no different than Guzman's. How many families are killed in the middle east over oil and no one bats an eye. All the crap people buy from China, while people are being kept slaves and work in sweat shops and no one cares. LMAO It is all relative but no one like to admit it.
FaceOnMars February 23, 2014 at 01:49 PM
Robert: legalization in CO & WA are small steps in the right direction to undercut the black market and the associated violence it entails. Drug abuse and addition are fundamentally health issues and ought to be treated as such by society. Does it make sense to lock people up and throw away the key who are only committing "slow motion suicide"?!? Even if one believes drug users ought to be treated as criminals, it's truly mindboggling to see the disparity in sentencing compared to violent criminal acts. The two thugs who beat the Giants fan into a coma (and nearly died) outside of Dodger stadium received only 4 & 8 years. Yet many drug users who've been repeat offenders are literally locked up for life.
FaceOnMars February 23, 2014 at 01:50 PM
... might as well be Salem, MA in the 1600's IMO
tojo February 23, 2014 at 02:21 PM
This guy is nothing compared to the "Real" problem in the US. These cold, hard, indisputable "Facts" cannot be denied. From the FBI: Black males ages 14 to 35, commit almost 70% of all violent crime and 90% of murders in the US, while they comprise less than 4% of the actual population. Many of them also spawn from 20 to 30 illegitimate potential little 7/11 robbers, hookers, drug addicts, rapists, drug dealers, and murderers, by age 28 or 30 with multiple, underage, unwed, more than willing sexual partners with taxpayer funded welfare paying for it all while they stand around on the corners getting drunk on Colt 45 malt liquor, high on killer weed, down on heroin, up on PCP, ripped on angel dust, zipped on crystal meth, zooped on Oxycontin, bimmped on schrooms, and bragging about it. It's, "Time to take America back from the animals."
John Roberts February 23, 2014 at 02:29 PM
Reality: If we al had good health and lived forever...We would destroy the earth.Suicide,Drugs,Run over,Murdered,falling, Natural causes....This is how we die. total Population Control...Naturally
John Roberts February 23, 2014 at 02:30 PM
@ Tojo Shrooms have been given to people in hospice places around the world and people have died smiling.Thats no pain. Shrooms Have been helping people get off heroin for YEARS. The whole welfare check thing...The real drug users go to work and buy mass amounts. There is a bad side to everything good but a good side to all bad things.
Lenny Kravitz February 23, 2014 at 02:50 PM
"Chicago's 'Public Enemy No. 1' Captured in Mexico" I read that and thought: What the heck is Quinn doing in Mexico ?
David Greenberg February 23, 2014 at 03:13 PM
Big deal. So they captured one guy - as if he was the SOLE employee of the Cartel producing, smuggling, and distributing all the drugs... My prediction is that it has little to NO effect on the availability. Sure, maybe, there could possibly be a power struggle in the cartel - but ultimately, the stuff is still going to flow as it always did. Porous border, corrupt cops on both sides, inept morons running the Dept. of Justice that lose track of firearms in a botched operation that they try to play off as not being so bad (Fast 'n Furious), and oh yeah - the demand for the stuff. Just LEGALIZE it already. Lightly tax it. Dedicate some of the tax dollars to treatment, and stop with this miserable failure that is the War on Some Drugs...
Herc February 23, 2014 at 04:41 PM
He's one of many, knock off one and two more take their place.
sklogw February 23, 2014 at 04:52 PM
Sure this guy is a criminal but he is also a genius. I hope they make a movie about him. lol
Bernard Johnson February 23, 2014 at 06:37 PM
The so-called War on Drugs has been a debacle since it began. Just as Prohibition resulted in funding the MAFIA outside of their wildest dreams and putting them into a vastly stronger position than such as the Black-hand and others before Prohibition; so long as their is demand and profits to be made - supply WILL follow. The pathetic joke about the War on Drugs is that in making marijuana one of the targeted substances, the profit margin to be had by the growing, importation and/or distribution of the weed assures its continued supply. At the same time, the militarization of law enforcement bodes very disconcerting for proponents of civil rights and liberties. Imagine if just half of the monies spent on the absurd War on Drugs were spent on public education, substance abuse treatment and/or medical care what we could actually accomplish. Just like 'trickle-down' and 'supply-side' economic doctrine, the same perverse and misguided allocation of finite resources to the War on Drugs is nothing less akin than to our fraudulently premised/accomplish nothng basis for our invasion of Iraq. How is it that we so consistently get it SO very, very wrong? !!!
Dan February 24, 2014 at 07:42 AM
all he had to do was move to chicago,and he would still be running the streets. quinn loves the illegals.
Dan February 24, 2014 at 07:44 AM
plus the chicago cops would lose,I mean take home his file for safe keeping.
Paul O'Boyle February 24, 2014 at 09:27 AM
sklogw, I like the way you think
JPDk February 24, 2014 at 02:51 PM
my connect is gone :( sorry you guys im going to have to sell you guys baking powder from now on
JPDk February 24, 2014 at 02:52 PM
FREE MY NIG CHAPO
Grumpy Old Man February 24, 2014 at 03:04 PM
Bernard - the War on Drugs is a total fiasco - however, we should have given the money spent on it back to ourselves - the feds don't know how to do anything but screw things up. Lenny Kravitz - I thought of Rahmbo when I saw the headline since it said Chicago! For Illinois, Quinn is it.
Idont Givitout February 25, 2014 at 02:12 PM
Sounds like another good guy providing a valued service is getting railroaded.

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