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The Long Tentacles of a Drug Cartel

Marco Ugarte/AP

A veteran agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency said Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s drug cartel reached into downstate Illinois, including western Illinois.

“These criminal organizations do like to hide amongst hard-working Mexican-Americans. That’s what they do for their cover,” said Jack Riley during a 2011 interview with Tri States Public Radio.  “We do see some investigations going to smaller rural areas that we never saw before.”

Riley spoke with TSPR after giving a presentation to law enforcement students at Western Illinois University. He told students that Guzman was overheard inquiring about putting out a hit on him, but the agent said it’s just part of the job.

“If you’re worried about that, you’d be paralyzed.  We’re very good at what we do, we know what we’re doing, and it is unfortunately an inherited risk with the job,” said Riley.

He also felt at the time that authorities were closing in on Guzman.  They finally nabbed their man over the weekend in the Mexican resort city of Mazatlan. 

The U.S. would like Mexico to extradite the drug lord.

Credit Rich Egger
Jack Riley

The February 24, 2014 radio story

Riley considered Guzman the most dangerous criminal in the world and said his criminal organization might very well be the most vicious the world has ever seen.

“They’ll do anything to make a dollar.  They will not think twice about killing. They will not think twice about killing women and children to make a point,” said Riley.

He said the cartel would also take video of beheadings and post it to the Internet.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.