Sep 27, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
(THE BLAZE) The city may be nearly 2,000 miles from Mexico, but the country’s drug cartels are so deeply embedded in Chicago that local and federal law enforcement are forced to operate as if they are “on the border,” according to Jack Riley, special agent in charge for the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Because of Chicago’s location in the heart of the United States, its large Mexican population and its abundance of street gang activity, drug cartels have designated the city as one of its main hubs of operation in America, Riley told TheBlaze in an exclusive interview. Inevitably, the increasing presence of cartels has also contributed to the Windy City’s skyrocketing violent crime rates, the DEA boss revealed. “My opinion is, right now, a number of the Mexican cartels are probably the most organized, well-funded, vicious criminal organizations that we’ve ever seen,” said Riley.
Right now, at least three major Mexican cartels are fighting for control of billions of dollars worth of marijuana, cocaine and heroin in Chicago. That includes the ruthless Zetas and the powerful Sinaloa cartel, run by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, arguably the most wanted man in North America, and perhaps the entire world.
However, the influence of drug cartels is seemingly overlooked repeatedly by the media when it reports on Chicago’s crime rate and rampant drug-related violence.
The city of Chicago, which Riley says has the “strongest police department” in the country, has been dealing with organized crime groups since the early 1930s, most notably the Italian mafia. But as ruthless as Al Capone and the mobs once were, Mexican drug trafficking organizations like the Sinaloa Cartel put them to shame, Riley said. “If I pitted the Italian organized crime groups against for instance, ‘Chapo’ Guzman and the Sinaloa Cartel, it wouldn’t be a fight,” he told TheBlaze. “In my opinion, Chapo Guzman is the new Al Capone or Scarface to Chicago. His ability to corrupt, his ability to enforce his sanctions and to really do with an endless supply of revenue is in my opinion far greater than older Italian organized crime.”