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Mexican Cartel Leaders and Chinese Businessmen Slapped With Fentanyl Trafficking Charges

The United States Department of Justice charged 28 Mexican drug cartel leaders and members, including the children of El Chapo, and multiple Chinese businessmen with operating a fentanyl trafficking operation.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the charges Friday and said “we’re going after the entire network, from precursors, to importation into Mexico, to the manufacturer, to the weapons, to the money launderers, to the distribution in the United States.”

“The Justice Department is announcing significant enforcement actions against the largest, most violent, and most prolific fentanyl trafficking operation in the world. That operation is run by the Sinaloa cartel and fueled by Chinese precursor chemical and pharmaceutical companies,” Garland said.


Reuters reported:

Federal prosecutors unsealed three separate indictments charging more than two dozen defendants based in Mexico, China and Guatemala, eight of whom are in custody. Among those awaiting extradition is Ovidio Guzman Lopez, one of El Chapo’s sons, who was arrested in Mexico earlier this year.

He was indicted in Manhattan federal court on six counts, including conspiracy to import and distribute fentanyl, and faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted.

“They know that they’re poisoning and killing Americans. They just don’t care because they make billions of dollars doing it,” Anne Milgram, chief of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said of Guzman’s sons. “Their greed is shocking and without bounds.”

Prosecutors also charged four owners of Chinese companies that allegedly provided precursor chemicals to the cartel.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday also slapped sanctions on China-based chemical companies Wuhan Shuokang Biological Technology Co Ltd and Suzhou Xiaoli Pharmatech Co Ltd.

Garland said U.S. officials had met with Mexican counterparts this week and would work with them to “continually strike against this enemy” and seek extradition of the remaining defendants. He also called on China to do more.

NBC News added:

Also charged were a weapons supplier who provides the cartel with firearms smuggled to Mexico from the U.S., leaders of the cartel’s security and money launderers who fund the cartel’s operations, Garland said.

“The United States government is using every tool at its disposal to combat the fentanyl epidemic,” Garland said.

Garland said that between 2019 to 2021, fatal overdoses in the country increased by over 94%, with an estimated 196 Americans dying every day from fentanyl poisoning.

“Families and communities across our country are being devastated by the fentanyl epidemic,” he said. “From August 2021 to August 2022, 107,735 people died of drug overdoses in the United States. Two thirds of those deaths involve synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl.”


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