During summer, drug business in Chicago flourishes. At the South Side of Chicago, the police sirens seem never to stop. There are several neighborhoods that have become synonymous with the drug business and this include Back of the Yards, Dolton and Little Village where there are always squad cars and ambulances running about.
In 2016, 764 homicides were reported in Chicago making it one of the most violent cities in the U.S. The 764 homicides were a 50 percent increase from the homicides that occurred in 2015. One of the major factors that has led to an increase of violence in the area is booming drug trade.
Chicago has an amazing transport network including one of the busiest airport and many highway arteries and railroads making it a hub for business both legal and illegal.
Cartels in Chicago supply the drugs to the street gangs to sell on their behalf. There are several illicit groups that smuggle and transport these drugs for the cartels. Some of the most common drugs in the Chicago area include cocaine, heroin and crystal meth.
Route I-290 is commonly referred to as the Heroin Highway due it acting as an important channel for drugs to other areas including Milwaukee. According to police officials, majority of the drugs that enter Chicago don’t stay since they are mostly in transit to other parts of the country.
The origins of the drgus that find their way to Chicago are from Mexico in areas such as El Paso and Tijuana. The most preferred method for transporting these drugs are by road, tractor trailers, personal cars or buses which have hidden compartments where the drugs can’t be traced.
There are many Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) operating clandestinely across cities in the United States. In Chicago, the Sinaloa Cartel which was at one time quite dominant has been weakened since its boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was arrested. There are now other upcoming groups that include Los Rojos and The Jalisco New Generation Cartel which are making inroads in Chicago.
Competition among drug gangs in Mexico has led to the highest number of deaths since Drug War began in 2006. Drugs have affected Chicago in many ways especially its young people and plays a major role in the reported violence and homicides. There are deadly turf battles that occur between different rival street gangs in Chicago.
According to drug enforcement officials in Chicago, there are 100,000 active members of different crime groups in Chicago. Chicago is nicknamed as the “the street gang capital of America.” Among the most powerful gangs include; the Vice Lords, the gangster Disciples and the Latin Kings.
The most common weapons that are used by these drug cartels are handguns since they are quite cheap and easy to hide. However, they have been reported to use assault rifles especially when they set ambushes. Assaults during memorial services and funerals of other members of rival gangs are common since the people attending the memorial services are many.
Sociologists belief that the gang problem in Chicago is generational since children who are born in a family where one or both parents are in a gang have higher chances of being part of a gang when they grow up.