The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 14, 2013

Cartel kingpin is Chicago's new Public Enemy No. 1

(Continued)

Capone based his bootlegging and other criminal enterprises in Chicago during Prohibition, when it was illegal to sell alcohol in the U.S. He gained the greatest notoriety for the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre when assassins wielding Thompson machine guns shot dead seven of his rivals in a downtown garage.

Yet Riley said the 5-foot-6-inch Guzman — whose nickname means "shorty" in Spanish — is more ruthless than Capone, whose nickname was "Scarface."

"If I was to put those two guys in a ring, El Chapo would eat that guy (Capone) alive," Riley told The Associated Press in a recent interview at his office, pointing at pictures of the men.

Riley described Chicago as one of Sinaloa's most important cities, not only as a final destination for drugs but as a hub to distribute them across the U.S.

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

Cartels, blamed for more than 50,000 deaths in Mexico in recent years, are rarely directly linked to slayings in Chicago. But Bilek said Thursday that cartel-led trafficking is an underlying cause of territorial battles between street gangs that are responsible for rising homicide rates.

Guzman "virtually has his fingerprints on the guns that are killing the children of this city," Bilek told a news conference.

The cartel leader, who has been in hiding since escaping from a Mexican prison in a laundry cart in 2001, is one of the world's most dangerous and most wanted fugitives. He's also one of the richest: Forbes magazine has estimated his fortune at $1 billion.

Now in his mid-50s, 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.

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