Still, for all practical purposes, Guzman should be treated as a local Chicago crime boss for the havoc his cartel creates in the nation's third-largest city, said the head of the DEA's Chicago office, Jack Riley.
The point of singling out Guzman now, added Bilek, is to inspire more public support for going after him.
"Ninety-nine percent of the people in the United States have never heard of this man," he said. "Concerted action ... must be taken now against Guzman before he establishes a bigger network and a bigger empire in the United States."
Capone based his bootlegging and other criminal enterprises in Chicago during Prohibition, when it was illegal to sell alcohol in the U.S. He gained the greatest notoriety for the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre when assassins wielding Thompson machine guns shot dead seven of his rivals in a downtown garage.
Yet Riley said Guzman — whose nickname means "shorty" in Spanish — is more ruthless than Capone, whose nickname was "Scarface."
"If I was to put those two guys in a ring, El Chapo would eat that guy (Capone) alive," Riley told The Associated Press in a recent interview at his office, pointing at pictures of the men.
Riley described Chicago as one of Sinaloa's most important cities, not only as a final destination for drugs but as a hub to distribute them across the U.S.