Former DEA Administrator on ‘El Chapo' Escape: ‘This Is a Disaster'

A former administrator for the Drug Enforcement Administration called notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s escape from prison “a disaster” and said he should have been tried and imprisoned in the United States.

Guzman, who slipped into a shaft through the shower floor of his prison cell at a maximum-security prison in Mexico and got away in a mile-long tunnel outfitted with a motorbike, hasn’t been seen for more than 24 hours since his elaborate escape.

“The implications for us, it’s certainly not good that Mexican authorities can’t keep the most dangerous drug trafficker in prison, it’s not good that he’s on the loose, and it’s very frustrating, in fact a travesty of justice as I’ve said, that he’s on the loose,” said Peter Bensinger, an ex-administrator for the DEA. “For anybody that’s put their life on the line, for the DEA agents all over the world and for the people who are victims and addicted to drugs, this is a disaster.”

Guzman is the head of Mexico's Sinaloa Drug Cartel - which has smuggled billions of dollars in cocaine, meth, heroin, and marijuana across the border. Guzman was finally arrested in February of last year after twin brothers – who were the biggest drug dealers in Chicago – turned on Guzman and more than 60 other Sinaloa-cartel members.

Guzman was named Chicago’s first “Public Enemy No. 1” since Al Capone and he will likely regain that title following his escape. Federal authorities in the city have long said they wanted Guzman tried in Chicago if he was ever captured and extradited.

Several men who prosecutors have described as Guzman's lieutenants already are awaiting trial in the city.

Bensinger called Chicago “the hub of heroin traffic in the United States” and said Guzman used the city as a drug “distribution center.” He added that there could be consequences now that he’s escaped.

“He’s got people in Chicago dealing drugs, he’s got people all over the United States doing that,” Bensinger said. “Now that he’s loose he can dictate from wherever he’s located.”

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