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Reputed Drug Kingpin Has New Home: Chicago Federal Lockup

This July 10, 1993 file photo shows Mexican Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka El Chapo, at La Palma prison in Almoloya of Juarez, Mexico. Guzman, the world most wanted drug trafficker, ten years after his evasion from a high security prison has been able to take control of the most powerful drug organization in Mexico and is considered as one of the richest men in the world. (File Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

This July 10, 1993 file photo shows Mexican Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka El Chapo, at La Palma prison in Almoloya of Juarez, Mexico. Guzman, the world most wanted drug trafficker, ten years after his evasion from a high security prison has been able to take control of the most powerful drug organization in Mexico and is considered as one of the richest men in the world. (File Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (STMW) – The right-hand-man to Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is in a federal lockup in Chicago after he was extradited from Mexico, officials said Friday.

Alfredo Vasquez Hernandez was flown to Chicago on Thursday to face charges of participating in a multibillion-dollar drug trafficking organization.

“He is Chapo’s closest friend,” said Jack Riley, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s office in Chicago. “Chapo named his kid after him.”

Chicago is a major distribution hub for the Sinaloa cartel’s heroin and cocaine operations, authorities say. Guzman, who is in hiding, remains in constant contact with suppliers in Chicago, sources say. His nickname, Chapo, translates to “Shorty” in English.

Hernandez, known as “Alfredo Compadre,” is the second high-level Sinaloa cartel member to be taken into custody in Chicago as part of the case. The other one is Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, who was considered such a security risk that he was moved to the federal prison at Milan, Mich., to await trial. His father heads a faction of the cartel.

Guzman, who has been listed by Forbes magazine as one of the world’s richest men, is wanted by federal authorities in Chicago, but has evaded capture since the drug case was made public in 2009. Hernandez, 57, is being held in the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago. He was arrested in January 2011 in Mexico and has been awaiting extradition since then.

“He was crucial to Chicago’s operations in terms of logistics,” Riley said. “He was key to the growth of the cartel in Mexico and Chicago.”

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)