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U.S. charges 28 Sinaloa cartel members, including El Chapo's sons 

The charges against the defendants span from manufacturing the illicit drug to taking part in the drug operation’s supply network

Drug operations
Drug operations | Shutterstock

April 17, 2023 12:03am

Updated: April 17, 2023 11:22am

The Justice Department announced on Friday charges against 28 members of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, including sons of the renowned drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. 

The charges, the result of a sprawling fentanyl-trafficking investigation, were announced by Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Drug Enforcement Administration Director Anne Milgram. The indictments were filed in New York, Illinois, and Washington, D.C.

The charges against the defendants span from manufacturing the illicit drug to taking part in the drug operation’s supply network, including providing the chemicals required to produce fentanyl, managing the labs, and security and weapons providers, among others.  

Three of El Chapo’s sons, known as Chapitos or little Chapos, were charged during the investigation: Ovidio Guzman Lopez, Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar, and Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar.  

"The Chapitos pioneered the manufacture and trafficking of fentanyl — the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced — flooded it into the United States for the past eight years and killed hundreds of thousands of Americans," Milgram said.

Eight of the Sinaloa cartel members have been arrested and are in the custody of police in Colombia, Greece, Guatemala, and the U.S. Currently, only Guzman Lopez is in Custody in Mexico. 

The U.S. is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of several of those charged, including up to $10 million for El Chapo’s sons. 

The charges come as the U.S. government attempts to address the growing fentanyl crisis in the nation, which has led to the record-breaking number of 107,000 deaths in 2021. 

At the border, fentanyl seizures have increased by more than 400% since 2019. Seizures so far this fiscal year, which began in October, have already surpassed the total of all seizures recorded in 2022. 

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, most of the fentanyl making its way into the U.S. comes from the Sinaloa cartel. 

“Families and communities across our country are being devastated by the fentanyl epidemic,” Garland said. “We will never forget those who bear responsibility for this tragedy. And we will never stop working to hold them accountable for their crimes in the United States.”