WBEZ | El Chapo http://www.wbez.org/tags/el-chapo Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Prosecutor in 'El Chapo' Chicago case not surprised by prison escape http://www.wbez.org/news/prosecutor-el-chapo-chicago-case-not-surprised-prison-escape-112374 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/elchapo_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When Joaquin &ldquo;El Chapo&rdquo; Guzman, head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, was arrested in Mexico in February of 2014, former federal prosecutor Andrew Porter said authorities tried to have him extradited to the U.S.</p><p>Porter was supervising the federal case filed against Guzman in Chicago and he said they wanted to get Guzman as far as possible from his stronghold of support in Mexico. Guzman had previously escaped from another Mexican prison in 2001 and it took more than a decade to rearrest him.</p><p>&ldquo;I think we would have a very high degree of confidence that Chapo Guzman would not escape from a United States institution,&rdquo; Porter said.</p><p>But Guzman was not extradited and this past weekend escaped from a high-security prison in Mexico through a mile-long tunnel. The indictment in Chicago charges Guzman with smuggling drugs into the U.S. using multiple means, including tunnels.</p><p>Porter says he was frustrated when he heard Guzman had escaped again.</p><p>&ldquo;Just real frustration that all the hard work that went into finding him, that&rsquo;s sort of down the drain and here we go again,&rdquo; said Porter.</p><p>Porter said he doesn&rsquo;t think Guzman&rsquo;s escape immediately means more drugs on the streets of Chicago, because the Sinaloa cartel continued to operate with Guzman in jail. But Porter also notes that drug leaders rise in their organizations because they&rsquo;re good at what they do.</p></p> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 08:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/prosecutor-el-chapo-chicago-case-not-surprised-prison-escape-112374 Drug lord 'El Chapo' Guzman charged in Mexico http://www.wbez.org/news/drug-lord-el-chapo-guzman-charged-mexico-109760 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP607743402232.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>MEXICO CITY &mdash; Drug kingpin Joaquin &quot;El Chapo&quot; Guzman has been formally charged with violations of Mexico&#39;s drug-trafficking laws, starting a legal process that makes swift extradition to the U.S. unlikely, Mexican officials said Monday.</p><p>Guzman was charged with cocaine trafficking Sunday inside a maximum-security prison outside the nation&#39;s capital, Mexico&#39;s Federal Judicial Council announced. A judge has until Tuesday to decide whether to release him or start the process of bringing him to trial. Mexican authorities believe the judge will launch the trial process, a Mexican federal official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.</p><p>Guzman can appeal the judge&#39;s decision, a process that typically takes weeks or months. Mexican officials are also weighing whether to renew a string of other charges that Guzman faces inside Mexico. The decision to bring one local charge against Guzman indicates that President Enrique Pena Nieto&#39;s administration is leaning toward refiling at least some of the others, further delaying any possible extradition.</p><p>Guzman escaped a Mexican prison in 2001 and spent the next 13 years on the run before he was arrested Saturday morning in the Pacific coast city of Mazatlan by Mexican marines acting on U.S. intelligence. He faces charges in at least seven U.S. jurisdictions and U.S. officials have been pushing for his swift extradition.</p><p>Guzman and his Sinaloa cartel allies have hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of dollars at their disposal, along with networks of corrupt officials, hit men and other allies throughout Mexico. The cartel is believed to sell cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine in about 54 countries.</p><p>Analysts said the Pena Nieto administration was likely torn between the impulse to move Guzman to a nearly invulnerable U.S. facility, and the desire to show that Mexico can successful retry and incarcerate the man whose 13 years on the run at the head of the world&#39;s most powerful drug cartel embarrassed successive Mexican administrations.</p><p>The Federal Judicial Council said the cocaine-trafficking charges dated to 2009. The federal official said the Mexican government is weighing whether to try to send Guzman back to prison on the convictions for criminal association and bribery that he was serving time for when he escaped. When he escaped, he was also awaiting trial on charges of murder and drug trafficking, and the official said the Mexican government was weighing whether to file those charges again.</p><p>Guzman was captured just after sunrise Saturday hiding out in a condominium in Mazatlan, a beach resort town on Mexico&#39;s Pacific Coast.</p><p>He had a military-style assault rifle with him but didn&#39;t fire a shot, according to officials with knowledge of his arrest. His beauty-queen wife, Emma Coronel, was with him when the manhunt for one of the world&#39;s most wanted drug traffickers ended.</p><p>The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss specific details of how U.S. authorities tracked down Guzman.</p><p>The break that led to his arrest came on Feb. 16, when investigators from Mexico along with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement tracked a cellphone to one of the Culiacan stash houses Guzman used to elude capture.</p><p>The phone was connected to his communications chief, Carlos Manuel Ramirez, whose nickname is Condor. By the next day Mexican authorities arrested one of Guzman&#39;s top couriers, who promptly provided details of the stash houses Guzman and his associates had been using, the officials said.</p><p>At each house, the Mexican military found the same thing: steel reinforced doors and an escape hatch below a bathtub. Each hatch led to a series of interconnected tunnels in the city&#39;s drainage system.</p><p>The officials said three tons of drugs, suspected to be cocaine and methamphetamine, were found at one of the stash houses.</p><p>An AP reporter who walked through one of the tunnels had to dismount into a canal and stoop to enter the drain pipe, which was filled with water and mud and smelled of sewage. About 700 meters (yards) in, a trap door was open, revealing a newly constructed tunnel. Large and lined with wood panels like a cabin, the passage had lighting and air conditioning. At the end of the tunnel was a blue ladder attached to the wall that led to one of the houses Mexican authorities say Guzman used as a hideout.</p><p>A day after troops narrowly missed Guzman in Culiacan, top aide Manuel Lopez Ozorio was arrested. The officials said he told investigators that he picked up Guzman, Ramirez and a woman from a drainage pipe and helped them flee to Mazatlan.</p><p>A wiretap being monitored by ICE agents in southern Arizona provided the final clue, helping track Guzman to the beachfront condo, the officials said.</p><p>The ICE wiretap proved the most crucial lead late last week as other wiretaps became useless as Guzman and his associates reacted to coming so close to being caught.</p><p>&quot;It just all came together and we got the right people to flip and we were up on good wire,&quot; the government official said. &quot;The ICE wire was the last one standing. That wire in Nogales. That got him (Guzman) inside that (building).&quot;</p><p>Alonzo Pena, a former senior official at ICE, said wiretaps in Arizona led authorities to the Culiacan house of Guzman&#39;s ex-wife, Griselda Lopez, and to the Mazatlan condominium where Guzman was arrested.</p><p>The ICE investigation started about a year ago with a tip from the agency&#39;s Atlanta office that someone was crossing the border with about $100,000 at a time, said Pena, who was briefed on the investigation. That person led investigators to another cartel operative, believed to be an aircraft broker, and that allowed them to locate Guzman&#39;s communications equipment.</p><p>The senior law enforcement official said the Mexican marines deserve credit for taking Guzman alive and without either side firing a shot.</p><p>&quot;We never anticipated, ever, that he would be taken alive,&quot; the official said.</p><p>Grand juries in at least seven U.S. federal district courts, including Chicago, San Diego, New York and Texas, have already issued indictments for Guzman on a variety of charges, ranging from smuggling cocaine and heroin to participating in an ongoing criminal enterprise involving murder and racketeering.</p><p>Federal officials in Chicago were among the first to say they wanted to try Guzman. On Sunday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Tiscione in Brooklyn became the second. In an email Sunday, Tiscione said his office would also be seeking extradition but it would be up to Washington to make the final call.</p></p> Mon, 24 Feb 2014 12:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/drug-lord-el-chapo-guzman-charged-mexico-109760 Cartel kingpin Chicago's new Public Enemy No. 1 http://www.wbez.org/news/cartel-kingpin-chicagos-new-public-enemy-no-1-105528 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS7018_AP105468334795(1)-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A drug kingpin in Mexico who has never set foot in Chicago has been named the city&#39;s new Public Enemy No. 1 &mdash; the same notorious label assigned to Al Capone at the height of the Prohibition-era gang wars.</p><p>The Chicago Crime Commission considers Joaquin &quot;El Chapo&quot; Guzman even more menacing than Capone because he&#39;s the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, which supplies most of the narcotics sold in the city.</p><p>&quot;What Al Capone was to beer and whiskey during Prohibition, Guzman is to narcotics,&quot; said Art Bilek, the commission&#39;s executive vice president. &quot;Of the two, Guzman is by far the greater threat. ... And he has more power and financial capability than Capone ever dreamed of.&quot;</p><p>The commission &mdash; a non-government body that tracks city crime trends &mdash; designated Capone Public Enemy No. 1 in 1930. It has declared other outlaws public enemies, but Capone was the only one deemed No. 1.</p><p>Until now.</p><p>Guzman is thought to be holed up in a mountain hideaway in western Mexico, but he ought to be treated as a local Chicago crime boss for the havoc his cartel creates in the nation&#39;s third-largest city, said Jack Riley, of the Drug Enforcement Administration, which joined the commission in affixing the title to Guzman.</p><p>The point of singling out Guzman was to inspire more public support for going after him, Bilek said.</p><p>&quot;Ninety-nine percent of the people in the United States have never heard of this man,&quot; he said. &quot;Concerted action ... must be taken now against Guzman before he establishes a bigger network and a bigger empire in the United States.&quot;</p><p>Capone based his bootlegging and other criminal enterprises in Chicago during Prohibition, when it was illegal to make or sell alcohol in the U.S. He eventually went to prison for income tax evasion, but he gained the greatest notoriety for the 1929 St. Valentine&#39;s Day Massacre that left seven rivals dead.</p><p>Yet Riley says Guzman &mdash; whose nickname means &quot;shorty&quot; in Spanish &mdash; is more ruthless than Capone, whose nickname was &quot;Scarface.&quot;</p><p>&quot;If I was to put those two guys in a ring, El Chapo would eat that guy (Capone) alive,&quot; Riley told The Associated Press in a recent interview at his office, pointing at pictures of the men.</p><p>Riley described Chicago as one of Sinaloa&#39;s most important cities, not only as a final destination for drugs but as a hub to distribute them across the U.S.</p><p>&quot;This is where Guzman turns his drugs into money,&quot; he said.</p><p>Mexican cartels that ship drugs to Chicago are rarely directly linked to slayings. But Bilek said Thursday that cartel-led trafficking is an underlying cause of territorial battles between street gangs that are blamed for rising homicide rates.</p><p>&quot;He virtually has his fingerprints on the guns that are killing the children of this city,&quot; Bilek told a news conference.</p><p>Guzman, who has been on the run since escaping from a Mexican prison in a laundry cart in 2001, is one of the world&#39;s most dangerous and most wanted fugitives. He&#39;s also one of the richest: Forbes magazine has estimated his fortune at $1 billion.</p><p>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.</p><p>&quot;His time is coming,&quot; Riley said. &quot;I can&#39;t wait for that day.&quot;</p><p>It was only a coincidence, Bilek said Thursday, that the announcement naming Guzman Public Enemy No. 1 came on the anniversary of the St. Valentine&#39;s Day Massacre, which raised public pressure to capture Capone.</p><p>Within two years of being designated Public Enemy No. 1 in 1930, Capone had been captured, convicted and imprisoned.</p><p>With the same label now attached to Guzman, Bilek said, &quot;we hope the same thing will happen to him.&quot;</p></p> Thu, 14 Feb 2013 09:50:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/cartel-kingpin-chicagos-new-public-enemy-no-1-105528