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They allegedly set up a vast network of labs that produced huge amounts of the low-cost, lethal drug, which they smuggled into the United States.
While Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s trial primarily centered around cocaine trafficking, the charges against his sons shed light on a cartel that is going through a generational change, as they sought to produce the most powerful fentanyl and sell it in the US at an extremely low price. This was revealed in an indictment that was made public on April 14 in Manhattan.
The Problem With Those Drugs
The US faces a crisis with synthetic opioids, especially fentanyl, causing more deaths than the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars combined. Some call for military intervention, but it’s a public health issue. The Sinaloa cartel shifted from cocaine to fentanyl, produced in basic labs in Sinaloa.
A single cook can create large quantities of counterfeit pills sold to American consumers, who mistake them for other medications. Fentanyl is highly profitable, costing only 50 cents per pill to produce. Between August 2020 and August 2021, over 107,000 Americans died from synthetic opioid overdoses.
The Sinaloa cartel has been increasing its profits by selling counterfeit pills produced in basic labs to US consumers, and has been using violence to expand its business.
The recently indicted Ivan Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar and Jesus Alfredo Guzmán Salazar are two of the 23 associates accused of involvement in the cartel.
The indictment also reveals that the Chapitos conduct human testing on kidnapped rivals or addicts, and resort to brutal violence, such as feeding enemies to pet tigers and using chili peppers to torture people. The cartel’s violence is motivated by a desire to avoid a power vacuum.
The Connection to the Cartel
The Chapitos, sons of “El Chapo,” produced fentanyl in basic labs and sold fake pills to the US. This violence in Mexico has been immediately linked to the cartel. US prosecutors have named people who helped the cartel obtain chemicals for fentanyl. Mexico’s President López Obrador is an obstacle to slowing the cartels’ fentanyl production due to his lack of understanding and reduced cooperation with the DEA.