Weather Updates

Drug kingpin ‘El Chapo’ named new Public Enemy No. 1

Joaqu'El Chapo' Guzman Loer(pictured 1993) has earned title Public Enemy No. 1 Chicago Crime Commissisaid Thursday.  |  AFP/Getty

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera (pictured in 1993) has earned the title of Public Enemy No. 1, the Chicago Crime Commission said Thursday. | AFP/Getty Images file photo

storyidforme: 44648531
tmspicid: 16537200
fileheaderid: 7439204
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: March 17, 2013 6:10PM

Not since Al Capone has any criminal so richly deserved the title of Public Enemy No. 1 as much as Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, leaders of the Chicago Crime Commission said Thursday.

And until now, no one had officially earned the title since Capone in 1930. But Chicago Crime Commission Executive Vice President Arthur Bilek said his agency was joining the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency this week in naming Loera by far the most dangerous criminal threatening “all cities, and all areas where he works” — Public Enemy No. 1.

And while Loera is thought to be holed up in the Mexican mountains, far away from Chicago, the special agent in charge of the DEA’s Chicago field office linked Loera’s Sinaloa drug cartel to the rash of violence sweeping this city.

“We know that the majority of the violent acts that occur here in Chicago are gang-related,” DEA boss Jack Riley said. “We know that, for the most part, the gangs make their money, fight over their turf, shoot each other in defense of the drug trade. And we do know that ‘Chapo’ Guzman and Sinaloa supply the majority of narcotics available to the city and to the region.”

The Sinaloa cartel has “willing business partners” in 100,000 street gang members in Chicago and its suburbs, according to the commission. It also said Sinaloa and other feuding cartels are responsible for tens of thousands of murders, “some gruesome beyond belief.”

Bilek said he’s hoping Thursday’s announcement exposes Loera, who he said is relatively unknown by the public but is protected by a virtual army. That might give law enforcement a better chance of bringing him to justice. And neither he nor Riley said they’re worried Loera might take some pride in the title.

“I don’t really care what he says,” Riley said.

Bilek said Loera — possibly the most significant criminal in modern times — deserves Capone’s title without question. And Riley suggested a federal, state and local task force could be getting ready to come down on him.

“In the next couple weeks,” Riley said, “I’m proud to say, you’re going to see us swing the bat.”

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.