Chicago Names New "Public Enemy No. 1"

By McCarton Ackerman 02/14/13

"El Chapo," leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, is on the Chicago Crime Commission's hit list.

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The new Al Capone? Photo via

Chicago hasn't referred to anyone as Public Enemy No. 1 since the Prohibition era, but they've now bestowed that title on Mexico's drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Guzman is the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, which the Chicago Crime Commission and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says supplies the bulk of narcotics that are sold in the city. "Not since the Chicago Crime Commission's first Public Enemy No. 1 has any criminal deserved this title more than Joaquin Guzman," wrote J.R. Davis, President of the Chicago Crime Commission. The last person to receive the public enemy moniker was Al Capone back in 1930, when he based his alcohol bootlegging and other criminal enterprises out of Chicago and his 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre left 84 people dead. However, some believe that Guzman is far more detrimental to the city than Capone ever was. "If I was to put those two guys in a ring, El Chapo would eat that guy (Capone) alive," said Jack Riley, the DEA's top Chicago official. Riley said that Chicago is one of the most important cities for the Sinaloa cartel, both as an end destination for drugs and a hub to distribute them throughout the country. While Guzman is not directly linked to murders in the city, drug trafficking often leads to turf wars between street gangs that can lead to increased homicide rates. Guzman has been indicted on federal trafficking charges in Chicago and a $5 million reward has been offered for his capture, in which case he would be extradited to the U.S. and stand trial.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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