Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the kingpin of the Sinaloa Cartel, owns the Chicago-area drug game.
Sinaloa members have embedded themselves in the city’s robust Hispanic population, employing tens of thousands of local gang members to push all kinds of drugs in the streets.
A new report by John Lippert, Nacha Cattan, and Mario Parker of Bloomberg details just how dominant El Chapo has become:
“Operating from heavily guarded compounds in the Sierra Madre of northern Mexico, Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel supplies 80 per cent of the heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine — with a street value of $US3 billion — that floods the Chicago region each year, the DEA says.”
In February El Chapo, now in his late fifties, became Chicago’s first Public Enemy No.1 since Al Capone in 1929.
In 2006 Guzman said that he wanted to make the city his “home port,” and authorities say he has done just that.
“We had freelance distributors in Chicago before,” Art Bilek, a retired detective who’s executive vice president of the Chicago Crime Commission, told Bloomberg. “Guzman has taken them over one by one. He centralized everything — the shipping, warehousing and distribution of drugs, and the collection and transport of money back to Mexico.”
As to how a man from a small mountain village in Mexico became the pusherman for America’s third-largest city, there are allegations that the Sinaloa cartel works with the U.S. government.
Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, the Sinaloa cartel’s “logistics coordinator” and son of a principal Sinaloa leader,
asserted in court documents that Guzman is a U.S. informant and Sinaloa was “given carte blanche to continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs into Chicago.
Niebla also alleged that Operation Fast and Furious was part of an agreement to finance and arm the cartel in exchange for information used to take down its rivals.
A Mexican foreign service officer made similar claims to the private security firm Stratfor, according to leaked emails. And a former Sinaloa member told a similar story about Sinaloa working with law enforcement to Aram Roston of Newsweek.
In any case, Guzman is on top of the drug world.
“They’re the pre-eminent organised crime group in the world today,” Nick Roti, head of anti-gang enforcement for the Chicago Police Department, told Bloomberg. “They have almost unlimited resources.”