By Steve Neavling
The Justice Department leveled numerous charges against four sons of notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and 24 others tied the Sinaloa Cartel.
In announcing the charges Friday, Attorney General Merrick Garland called the cartel “the largest, most violent, and most prolific fentanyl trafficking operation in the world.”
“Families and communities across our country are being devastated by the fentanyl epidemic,” Garland said in a statement. “Today’s actions demonstrate the comprehensive approach the Justice Department is taking to disrupt fentanyl trafficking and save American lives.”
The cartel members were charged with trafficking fentanyl and other drugs, money laundering, murder, and other violent crimes.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said “the fentanyl crisis in America – fueled in large part by the Sinaloa cartel – threatens our public health, our public safety, and our national security.”
The indictments “target every element of the Sinaloa Cartel’s trafficking network,” Monoco said, “from the chemical companies in China that spawn fentanyl precursors, to the illicit labs that produce the poison, to the networks and money launderers and murderers that facilitate its distribution.”
The Justice Department said the Sinaloa Cartel relies on China for most of the chemicals for fentanyl. The drugs are then manufactured in Mexico and smuggled to the U.S.
The indictments also said assassins murdered law enforcement officers, tortured rivals, and fed others to their pet tigers.
The cartel’s operations continued after El Chapo was sentenced to life in prison in U.S. District Court in New York four years ago.
“Today’s indictments send a clear message to the 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,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said. “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.