World's most wanted man also Cleveland's Public Enemy Number One

CLEVELAND -- In the 1920s, mob boss Al Capone held a brutal rein over Chicago. His prohibition-era bootlegging operations, prostitution and gambling rings dominated organized crime.

And Capone's orders to carry out the bloody Valentine's Day Massacre, targeting rival mob bosses, earned him the status as America's most notorious gangster.

For the first time in the city's history, Chicago declared a criminal Public Enemy Number One. Nearly 90 years later, Capone has been dethroned.

Last year, the Chicago Crime Commission held a press conference announcing, for the first time since Capone, the Windy City had a new Public Enemy Number One -- Joaquin Guzmán Loera.

"But there are major differences between Guzman and Capone. By far Guzman is the greater threat. His gang is larger, numbering in the 10s of thousands. He is more deadly and responsible for the death of over 10,000 people," said Arthur Bilek, Chicago Crime Commission executive vice president.

His nickname is "El Chapo," or Shorty, but Guzmán looms large as head of the notorious Sinaloa cartel.

One-fourth of all illegal drugs funneled into the United States from Mexico are done so at Guzmán's command. His drug empire has flourished in Chicago, considered a "hub" city for traffickers because of its Midwest location. And now Guzmán's cartel has a stranglehold on Cleveland.

"He is Public Enemy Number One not just in Cleveland and Chicago. He is Public Enemy Number One in the United States," said U.S. Attorney Joe Pinjuh.

Pinjuh leads the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force at the U.S. attorney's office. His Cleveland office sits in the middle of a heroin graveyard.

In Cuyahoga County alone, it's estimated 200 people died from the drug last year. Pinjuh says 70 percent of that heroin came from Chicago -- and probably "El Chapo."

"If you were to ask me right now, 'Joe, take me somewhere to buy an Oxycontin pill,' I'd be a little challenged to do that. If you told me 'Take me somewhere to score a hit of heroin,' we'd have to choose which among a number of places where we would go," Pinjuh explains.

How sophisticated is Guzmán's operation? It's reported he owns a submarine to better smuggle drugs into the United States. Guzmán's cartel has cells in New York, Florida and Texas. There are European cells, African cells, cells in Australia and South America.

Guzmán was captured in 1993 and held in a maximum security prison in Mexico. But when you command billions, as Guzmán does, you can often buy or bribe your way out of anything. Even prison.

Guzman bribed several guards in 2001 and escaped. He has eluded capture ever since.

Public Enemy Number One remains on the loose. His influence and drugs continue to pollute the streets of Northeast Ohio. But countless agents, including Pinjuh, are working every day to bring him down once and for all.

"Your time is coming. It's just a matter of time," says Pinjuh.


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