By Dennis Robaugh
The billionaire drug lord who replaced Osama bin Laden as America's most wanted fugitive was captured Saturday by Mexican marines, DEA agents and U.S. marshals.
Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, built an extensive drug network that reached from Mexico into the U.S., Europe, Africa and Australia, flooding communities with heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine through local street gangs. Chicago became the epicenter of Guzman's operation and was the first criminal to be listed as "Public Enemy No. 1" in Chicago since Al Capone.
Authorities waged a 12-year manhunt for Guzman, 56, finally taking him into custody at a high-rise condo in the seaside Mexican resort town of Mazatlan, according to CNN, where he hid behind steel-reinforced doors. Mexican marines and U.S. DEA agents planned the raid for more than a month.
Guzman now must be extradited to the United States. He has been indicted in several states, including Illinois, Texas, California and Arizona. The New York Daily News noted that Guzman's trial could take place in New York.
Experts estimate Guzman's annual revenue at $3 billion. Forbes magazine listed Guzman as one of the world's most powerful people in 2012, ranking him at No. 67 ahead of the president of France. "CEO of the Sinaloa cartel, "El Chapo" is the world's most powerful drug trafficker. The cartel is responsible for an estimated 25% of all illegal drugs that enter the U.S. via Mexico," Forbes wrote.
"By far, the Sinaloa Cartel is responsible for brining more cocaine, heroin and meth into this country than any other organization," the Daily News quoted a federal law enforcement official.
The newspaper noted that battles between Sinaloa and other Mexican drug cartels turned cities such as Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana into bloodbaths.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will decide where Guzman goes to trial.
Federal courts reporter Kim Janssen reports that two Chicago drug dealers, Pedro and Margarito Flores, turned on Guzman and provided evidence that not only linked Guzman to the Chicago drug trade but revealed Chicago to be the epicenter of his American operation.
In 2009, Guzman was indicted in Chicago after the DEA confiscated $20 million and 2 tons of cocaine.