The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) mentioned that the Sinaloa Cartel is more powerful and has more money since Joaquin El Chapo Guzman’s sons took control of the organization, also known as the Pacific Cartel.
“We mounted a very successful case against El Chapo, and he is in federal prison for the rest of his days. His sons took over, and the cartel has never been more powerful or made more money. We can’t go against a single point. We have to attack the whole chain,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said during a Milken Institute forum.
The DEA director noted that Mexican cartels have evolved since 2014 because “they are more lethal, they are more ruthless, and they are attracting a new poison, fentanyl, which is cheaper.”
He added that the United States implements a strategy against the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG) because they have “built a strategic layer on top of them,” which consists of a specialized team for each of these criminal organizations.
He specified that these special groups are people dedicated to defeating the cartels, such as DEA agents, scientific analysts, experts in chemistry, and illicit finances.
“We are now ‘mapping’ the members of these two cartels worldwide. We have identified them in more than 40 countries worldwide, and they operate differently in each country. We are attacking the entire supply chain. We have incredible international partners who can help us,” said the DEA director.
She noted that the drug agency is not only looking for suppliers of fentanyl precursors but also for accomplices and facilitators within the United States.
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“This is the first time we are doing this. We have to identify every part of that supply chain,” said Anne Milgram. “They buy precursor chemicals from China, ship them to Mexico, produce fentanyl on a massive scale, compress those pills, and then ship them to the United States by air, sea, and social networks to get them into the hands of Americans,” she said.
The DEA agent acknowledged that the U.S. also must attack the demand for fentanyl consumption and assured that it has managed to flatten the growth curve of overdose deaths that reach more than 107 a year. “It is no longer a war on drugs. It is an effort to save lives,” he said.
This is not the first time the US anti-drug agency has announced it is going after El Chapo Guzman’s sons, who lead a faction of the Sinaloa Cartel that calls itself Los Chapitos.
On April 14, the U.S. Department of Justice announced new criminal charges in the Southern District of New York, Northern District of Illinois, and District of Columbia against Los Chapitos: Iván and Alfredo Guzmán Salazar, ages 40 and 37, respectively, as well as Joaquín and Ovidio Guzmán López, ages 36 and 33.
“Today’s indictments send a clear message to 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 safety and health of the American people,” Anne Milgram said at the time.
“The Chapitos pioneered the manufacture and trafficking of fentanyl, the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced. It flooded into the United States over 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, gained unprecedented access to the highest levels of the organization, and tracked them around the world,” said the DEA Director.