The US Justice Department has charged three sons of notorious drug lord Joaquin El Chapo Guzman with drug trafficking.
Ovidio Guzman, Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar, and Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar have been dubbed the Chapitos (or little Chapos) and are regarded as the most violent and aggressive group of the cartel.
Only Guzman is being held in Mexico.
Attorney General Merrick G. Garland and Drug Enforcement Administration Chief Anne Milgram announced the indictments for three districts that target the global network of the cartel.
The defendants were part of an intricate manufacturing and supply chain that included Chinese and Guatemalan nationals accused of supplying the precursor chemicals needed to make and fentanyl. They also included those suspected of running labs for drugs in Mexico, and others accused of providing weapons, security and funding for the operation.
The case is a wide-ranging one, as the US continues to be gripped by a deadly overdose crisis caused primarily by fentanyl.
In the United States, nearly 107,000 people overdosed on drugs in 2021. This is a record.
US Customs and Border Protection has increased fentanyl seizures more than 400% from 2019, officials have said. This fiscal year’s seizures already exceed the total seizures for 2022.
According to the DEA, the Sinaloa cartel is the main source of fentanyl in the US.
Mr Garland stated that “families and communities in our country are being destroyed by the fentanyl crisis”.
We will never forget the people who are responsible for this tragedy. We will never give up on holding them accountable for the crimes they committed in the United States.
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Guzman Sr., also known as El Chapo was convicted of running a large-scale smuggling ring in 2019.
During his trial, prosecutors presented evidence that he and his cartel had made billions by smuggling cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and meth into the US.
Guzman, a defiant Guzman, accused the federal court judge in his case that he made a mockery out of the US justice and claimed that he had not been given a fair trial.
Mr Garland spoke of the brutality of the Sinaloa Cartel and the torture that its members had inflicted on their perceived enemies, such as Mexican law enforcement officials.
Garland stated that Guzman’s children have fed tigers with the bodies of victims, even when they were still alive.
Ms Milgram stated that eight of the accused have been arrested, and are in custody with law enforcement officials from Colombia, Greece Guatemala and the US.
The US government offers rewards to several other people charged in the case. This includes up to $10 million dollars for Guzman’s two other sons.