Four Sons of El Chapo Face Sweeping New Charges in Fentanyl Indictments

Published: April 26, 2023

Federal officers introduced a flurry of fees on Friday in opposition to the 4 sons of the infamous Mexican drug lord often called El Chapo, saying the boys had been main their imprisoned father’s empire and had been accountable for transferring huge portions of fentanyl into and all through the United States.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland stated at a news convention in Washington that along with the 4 sons — collectively often called Los Chapitos — federal indictments in Manhattan, Chicago and Washington had charged greater than two dozen different folks in what he described as a world fentanyl manufacturing and distribution operation run by the Sinaloa drug cartel. El Chapo, whose actual identify is Joaquín Guzmán Loera, led the group for years and after his conviction in Brooklyn in 2019 is serving life in jail within the United States.

Mr. Garland stated the defendants named within the 5 separate indictments included suppliers in China who bought so-called precursor chemical substances utilized in manufacturing fentanyl; a dealer based mostly in Guatemala who purchased the chemical substances on behalf of the Chapitos; operators of clandestine fentanyl labs in Mexico; and a weapons provider who offered the cartel with weapons smuggled into Mexico from the United States.

The indictments, taken collectively, offered a panoramic view of how fentanyl was created, transported and finally bought on the road in cities from New York to Nashville to Los Angeles. The fees famous that the fentanyl enterprise earned the cartel thousands and thousands of {dollars} whereas inflicting as many as 200 deaths within the United States every day.

“The Justice Department is attacking every aspect of the cartel’s operations,” Mr. Garland stated.

The fees additionally gave a taste of the violence and terror that has ravaged Mexico for years and supported the Sinaloa cartel’s fentanyl enterprise. The indictments stated that assassins working for Mr. Guzmán’s sons murdered legislation enforcement officers, tortured rivals with electrocution, stuffed chiles into the injuries of a few of their victims and even fed others — each useless and alive — to their pet tigers.

Anne Milgram, the pinnacle of the Drug Enforcement Administration, stated on the news convention that the sons had inherited their father’s “global drug trafficking empire” and remodeled it by pioneering a novel product.

“They made it more ruthless, more violent, more deadly — and they used it to spread a new poison, fentanyl,” Ms. Milgram stated.

A lawyer for the 4 sons declined to touch upon the brand new fees.

The new indictments got here at a second of a excessive pressure between U.S. and Mexican officers over their deteriorating law-enforcement relationship — and specifically, the difficulty of who was guilty for the scourge of fentanyl.

Ms. Milgram lashed out in February on the Mexican authorities, complaining that officers there had provided no help to U.S. brokers engaged on instances involving fentanyl from Mexico. Within weeks, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico shot again with baseless claims that his nation had nothing to do with the drug.

“Here, we do not produce fentanyl,” he stated.

At his news convention, Mr. Garland stated immediately, “The Sinaloa cartel is largely responsible for the surge of fentanyl into the United States over the last eight years.”

He credited the Mexican authorities for its cooperation within the U.S. effort, saying that Justice Department officers had met in Washington on Thursday with Mexico’s secretaries of protection and inside safety, its lawyer basic and its international minister.

The indictments unsealed on Friday weren’t the primary fees introduced in opposition to Mr. Guzmán’s sons. Like their father, who was charged in seven instances in seven cities earlier than his eventual conviction in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, they’re now going through a number of indictments in a number of jurisdictions.

One of the sons, Ovidio Guzmán López, was going through fees together with his brother Joaquín Guzmán López, unsealed in Federal District Court in Washington in 2019, days after their father was discovered responsible. Long often called the least completed of Mr. Guzmán’s kids, Ovidio Guzmán López was arrested by the Mexican authorities in January in Culiacán, a northwestern metropolis that has served for many years as the house base of the Sinaloa cartel.

Two of Mr. Guzmán’s different sons by a unique spouse — Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar and Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar — had been named on Friday in two separate indictments in Chicago and Manhattan. The Chicago case additionally included Joaquín Guzmán López as a defendant.

Iván was already going through fees filed in 2014 in San Diego, and Jesús Alfredo had been charged in 2015 in Chicago. Both stay at massive in Mexico, as does Joaquín.

The sons took management of a faction of their father’s fractured empire after his extradition to the United States in 2017, on the day earlier than Donald J. Trump took workplace. Often derided within the Mexican news media as playboys and unworthy successors to the household patriarch, they nonetheless created a thriving commerce in fentanyl, U.S. legislation enforcement officers say, whereas navigating the treacherous relations with different prime cartel figures, together with Mr. Guzmán’s brother, Aurelio, and his longtime enterprise accomplice, Ismael Zambada García.

The trial of Mr. Guzmán, which sprawled over three months, laid naked the depravity on the coronary heart of the Sinaloa cartel as witnesses described how its assassins seared folks with irons and burned them alive in bonfires.

The new indictments painted Mr. Guzmán’s sons in the same mild.

They accused Iván of telling his associates that the cartel wished to “flood the United States with fentanyl in order to supply ‘streets of junkies’” and famous that the cartel typically examined its product on sure captives.

The indictments additionally stated that assassins loyal to the sons had gone to nice lengths to forestall their arrests, “including drawing the Mexican military into gunfights, killing soldiers, and burning vehicles to create roadblocks.”

“We take aim at the Sinaloa cartel and the global network of death that feeds it,” Damian Williams, the U.S. lawyer for the Southern District of New York, stated on the news convention on Friday.

Glenn Thrush contributed reporting.

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