WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Friday charged 28 members of Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel, including sons of notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, in a sprawling fentanyl-trafficking investigation.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the charges Friday alongside Drug Enforcement Administration chief Anne Milgram and other top federal prosecutors. The charges were filed against cartel leaders, as well alleged chemical suppliers, lab managers, fentanyl traffickers, security leaders, financiers and weapons traffickers.
The indictments announced Friday charge Guzman’s three sons, who are known as the Chapitos, or little Chapos, and who have earned a reputation as the more violent and aggressive faction of the cartel.
The indictments also charge Chinese and Guatemalan citizens accused of supplying precursor chemicals required to make fentanyl. Others charged in the cases include those accused of running drug labs and providing security and weapons for the drug trafficking operation, prosecutors said.
Nearly 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2021.
The Sinaloa cartel’s notorious drug lord was convicted in 2019 of running an industrial-scale smuggling operation. At his trial, prosecutors said evidence gathered since the late 1980s showed he and his murderous cartel made billions of dollars by smuggling tons of cocaine, heroin, meth and marijuana into the U.S.