The drug trade in Chicago has helped fuel pervasive gang violence that has resulted in a quickly rising homicide rate. Chicago ended 2014 with 425 murders, and this year the city had seen 30 slayings by the end of January.
Now, however, the heavy-hitters from the criminal class appear to be moving to Chicago from south of the border and using the city’s ever-growing Mexican population to camouflage themselves and recruit new members.
“It’s not a new phenomenon up here in Chicago,” Wichern said. “Like any population, there will be a small element that gets involved in criminal activities.”
Cook County police say that the neighborhoods of Pilsen and Little Village, both of which are about 82 percent Hispanic according to Census data, have become hubs for Sinaloa Cartel associates who traffic heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine across the city and – with easy access to the Stevenson, Dan Ryan, and Eisenhower Expressways – across the country.