The drug problem in Chicago, and the violence that accompanies it, is a pandemic. It infects the city and surrounding areas. Local officials have been searching for ways to bring down the crime rate and stem the flow of drugs into the city for years. Yesterday the Drug Enforcement Agency announced it would be working with local news outlet ABC7 to raise awareness of who the major players in the drug game are. They announced:

The ABC7 I-Team is kicking off “Operation Outlaws,” an exclusive arrangement with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to track down some of Chicago’s top fugitives.

The I-Team is on the trail of outlaws. Most of Chicago’s biggest fugitives are wanted for drug crimes and the violent mayhem that goes along with them– and some have been on the lam for years. On Monday night, the I-Team investigated one of the oldest cases, and one of the newest.

While this is not a novel idea, it is one that could be effective, if it weren’t already being undermined. Court documents released yesterday revealed the DEA has been working in conjunction with Chicago’s primary supplier of drugs, allowing him and his cartel to traffic drugs freely in exchange for information.

Business Insider has the full story:

An investigation by El Universal found that between the years 2000 and 2012, the U.S. government had an arrangement with Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed the organization to smuggle billions of dollars of drugs while Sinaloa provided information on rival cartels.

Sinaloa, led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, supplies 80% of the drugs entering the Chicago area and has a presence in cities across the U.S.

There have long been allegations that Guzman, considered to be “the world’s most powerful drug trafficker,” coordinates with American authorities.

But the El Universal investigation is the first to publish court documents that include corroborating testimony from a DEA agent and a Justice Department official.

The written statements were made to the U.S. District Court in Chicago in relation to the arrest of Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, the son of Sinaloa leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and allegedly the Sinaloa cartel’s “logistics coordinator.”

Here’s what DEA agent Manuel Castanon told the Chicago court:

“On March 17, 2009, I met for approximately 30 minutes in a hotel room in Mexico City with Vincente Zambada-Niebla and two other individuals — DEA agent David Herrod and a cooperating source [Sinaloa lawyer Loya Castro] with whom I had worked since 2005. … I did all of the talking on behalf of [the] DEA.”

It appears that the DEA has been a primary contributor to the violence in Chicago. By allowing Sinola to freely traffic drugs, in exchange for information, a culture of violence was created. Ironically, the drug cartels that the DEA were hunting, consolidated after 2012. There are no documents to confirm whether the DEA is still receiving cooperation from the cartels. Thus continues the absurdities of the drug war.
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