US Charges Sons of 'El Chapo,' Details Jarringly Violent Acts

Chinese companies face sanctions for supplying chemicals
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2023 2:20 PM CDT
US Charges 4 Sons of 'El Chapo'
DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, with Attorney General Merrick Garland, speaks Friday during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Justice Department on Friday announced a sweeping operation against fentanyl trafficking by Mexico's Sinaloa cartel, including the indictment of four sons of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán and two dozen other people. Attorney General Merrick Garland unveiled the charges at a news conference with federal prosecutors and the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The charges "exemplify the comprehensive approach the Justice Department is taking to disrupt and hold accountable those who bear significant responsibility for this fentanyl epidemic," Garland said. That includes China, per ABC News.

Those indicted include four Chinese nationals accused of involvement in the network that delivers chemicals needed to make fentanyl to the cartel; the Treasury Department is simultaneously imposing sanctions on two Chinese companies over the same issue. China's government "must stop the unchecked flow of fentanyl precursor chemicals that are coming out of China," Garland said. Investigators reported confiscating more than 2.5 million pills laced with fentanyl and 105 kilos of fentanyl powder as part of their operation. In addition to Guzmán's sons, suspected chemical suppliers, lab managers, fentanyl traffickers, security leaders, financiers, and weapons traffickers are among those charged.

Ovidio Guzmán López, Joaquin Guzmán López, Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar, and Iván Archivaldo Guzmán Sálazar have developed a reputation as the most violent wing of the Sinaloa cartel, per the Union-Tribune. Only one of the sons is in custody, jailed in Mexico. Garland described violence attributed to the sons' operation: Competing drug traffickers were fed to tigers dead or alive, and one woman was injected with fentanyl until she died. Other victims were tortured using electrocution and waterboarding, the attorney general said. Administrator Anne Milgram said the DEA infiltrated the cartel and the operation run by the sons, called the Chapitos, per CBS News. (More Sinaloa drug cartel stories.)

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