(CBS) — Chicago has a new Public Enemy Number One and he’s on the run.
The drug kingpin known as “El Chapo” escaped from a Mexican prison and if he looks familiar, that’s because he’s no stranger to Chicago.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports when he was arrested last year, the Chicago Crime Commission suspended its designation of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman as Public Enemy Number One.
But, the commission feared Guzman might never face justice if he wasn’t brought to America. This weekend, those fears were realized.
Guzman’s escape means the man most responsible Chicago’s violent drug trade is fully back in business once again.
“The drugs he sells are distributed by the gangs in this town and the people, both innocent and those involved in the drug trade, die as a result of Chapo Guzman,” said former DEA agent Peter Bensinger.
Guzman vanished Saturday from Mexico’s toughest super max prison, crawling through a 20-by-20 inch hatch in his cell then down a ladder to a sophisticated underground tunnel, before surfacing at an incomplete house a mile away.
“Once he comes back into the picture, obviously, he’s going to reassert his authority on his organization,” said Joseph Ways of the Chicago Crime Commission.
Back in 2009, a South Loop townhouse was identified in a federal indictment as one of eight local drug warehouses for Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel. His organization allegedly distributed up to two tons of cocaine a month in Chicago.
“The head of an organization that controlled 40 to 60 percent of the drugs that were on the streets of Chicago? I think that’s a real impact to the city,” said Chicago Crime Commission board member Jeff Johnson.
It’s Guzman’s second escape from a Mexican prison, the first came back in 2001.
Bensinger says the likelihood of Guzman being captured anytime soon is, “No better than 50-50. He may be out of Mexico already.”
Last year, the Mexican government refused U.S. requests to have Guzman extradited to the United States.
Now, the crime commission wants President Obama to call Mexico’s president to ensure that if Guzman is re-captured, he’s transferred to U.S. soil to stand trial.