The US Department of Justice announced charges on Friday in three federal districts against 28 individuals associated with the Sinaloa Cartel for producing fentanyl in Mexico and trafficking it to the United States. The criminal operation was led by the sons of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
In a statement, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said that Chinese pharmaceutical companies and Guatemalan nationals involved in the scheme had been indicted in the Southern District Court of New York, the Northern District Court of Illinois, and the District of Columbia Court in Washington.
Seven of the 28 individuals are already in the custody of Mexican and Guatemalan authorities awaiting extradition. However, the US authorities did not disclose their identities.
The indictment reveals that four of “El Chapo” Guzmán’s sons, Iván Guzmán Salazar (40), Alfredo Guzmán Salazar (37), Joaquín Guzmán López (36), and Ovidio Guzmán López (33), are facing charges in the United States. Guatemalan national Ana Gabriela Rubio Zea, who is accused of being “a chemical broker based in Guatemala who purchases fentanyl precursors on behalf of drug traffickers operating in Mexico,” primarily “Los Chapitos,” is named as one of his principal associates.
“Today, the Department of Justice is announcing significant enforcement actions against the world’s largest, most violent and prolific fentanyl trafficking operation, run by the Sinaloa Cartel and powered by Chinese precursor chemical and pharmaceutical companies,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland.
DEA Administrator General Anne Milgram warned that these new indictments “send a clear message to Los Chapitos, the Sinaloa Cartel and criminal drug networks around the world that the DEA will stop at nothing to protect the national security of the United States and the health of the American people.”
The new criminal indictments unsealed today indicate that the Sinaloa Cartel and “Los Chapitos” in particular “have repeatedly and consistently transported lethal quantities of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and fentanyl” into the United States using cargo planes, private aircraft, submarines, and other submersible vessels.
They have also used semi-submersibles, containers, supply boats, go-fast boats, fishing boats, buses, railway cars, tractor trailers, automobiles, and foreign carriers to transport their drugs and precursor chemicals.
Additionally, they are accused of maintaining a network of couriers, tunnels, and hideouts throughout Mexico and the United States to further their drug trafficking activities.
“Los Chapitos allegedly used these networks to import the drugs into the United States.”
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