The Justice Department has announced charges against more than two dozen members of a notorious Mexican cartel.
28 members of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, including sons of the infamous drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, were named in the indictment for being connected in some way to trafficking lethal amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and fentanyl, according to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
"Today, the Justice Department is announcing significant enforcement actions against the largest, most violent, and most prolific fentanyl trafficking operation in the world — run by the Sinaloa Cartel, and fueled by Chinese precursor chemical and pharmaceutical companies," said Garland in a press release. "Families and communities across our country are being devastated by the fentanyl epidemic. Today’s actions demonstrate the comprehensive approach the Justice Department is taking to disrupt fentanyl trafficking and save American lives."
While the cartel's chemical suppliers, lab managers, traffickers, and financiers also made the list, the DOJ says the three sons of Chapo, collectively known as "The Chapitos," have earned the reputation of being more violent and vicious than their father and should all be arrested immediately.
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"The Chapitos pioneered the manufacture and trafficking of fentanyl — the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced — flooded it into the United States for the past eight years and killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. Over the last year and a half, the DEA proactively infiltrated the Sinaloa Cartel and the Chapitos network, obtained unprecedented access to the organization’s highest levels, and followed them across the world," said Anne Milgram, administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The Chapitos are Ovidio Guzmán López, Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar, and Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Sálazar. Only Guzmán López is in custody, in Mexico.
The U.S. government is offering up to $10 million in rewards for any information leading to the arrest of Guzman's other sons.
In total, eight of those charged have been arrested and are currently in the custody of law enforcement officials in Colombia, Greece, Guatemala and the U.S. and are pending extradition proceedings.
Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, meaning a fingernail amount can be deadly. The drug is now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 49.
The Sinaloa Cartel is one of the most powerful drug cartels in the world, and according to the DOJ, the Chapitos used different types of aircraft, submarines, boats, buses, trains, and vehicles to transport drugs and chemicals through a number of couriers, networks and tunnels to import the drugs into the United States.