In the intricate underworld of drug trafficking, there are kingpins, and then there are the shadowy figures who empower them. For Los Chapitos, the criminal organization led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s sons, that power is partly derived from their vast arsenal. And the man behind that arsenal? Juan Pablo Lozano, alias “Camarón” (Shrimp).
Emerging as a looming threat to both Mexico and the U.S., Los Chapitos have solidified their position on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) list of most wanted fugitives. The numerous indictments by the US Department of Justice underscore the determined efforts to dismantle their fentanyl empire. But like every criminal edifice, Los Chapitos aren’t operating solo. A web of collaborators amplifies their strength.
Behind the Scenes: Camarón’s Role
While many of these accomplices remain in mystery, U.S. court documents have shed light on one particular individual: their primary arms supplier, Lozano, or “Camarón.” On April 14, 2023, a joint indictment publicly named him among 28 individuals associated with Los Chapitos.
Described as a 30-year-old high-ranking arsenal distributor, “Camarón” has been instrumental in arming Los Chapitos, their hitmen, and affiliated armed groups like Artistas Asesinos, Los Ninis, and Los Salazar. Documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office detail his trafficking operations, encompassing a range of weaponry from small-caliber pistols to potent machine guns and grenades. There is speculation that while the heavy artillery is directed towards the cartel’s hit squads in Sinaloa, the smaller firearms find their way to gunmen in Ciudad Juarez’s prisons.
In an intriguing twist, intelligence reports from August 2021 unveiled a clandestine meeting between “Shrimp” and a corrupt border agent facilitated by a senior gang leader allied with Los Chapitos. This connection reportedly granted Lozano unhindered access to the U.S., enabling him to traffic fentanyl pills using “mules” over the subsequent year.
Charges and Consequences
Given the gravity of his alleged operations, the Southern District Court of New York has indicted Lozano on multiple counts. These include conspiracy to import and distribute fentanyl, possession, and conspiracy to distribute machine guns and destructive devices, and conspiracy to launder money.
Though “Camarón” has managed to stay relatively under the radar, his actions have not gone unnoticed. The U.S. State Department has announced a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to his capture. If convicted, the charges he faces could result in a life sentence or a minimum of 40 years behind bars.
In the battle against drug trafficking, it’s not just the faces at the forefront that matter. Those lurking in the shadows, like Juan Pablo Lozano, also play pivotal roles in the narrative.