The U.S. Department of Justice has issued an indictment on international drug trafficking charges against four high-ranking members of Mexico’s dangerous Sinaloa Cartel, founded by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. One of the four defendants is Joaquín Guzmán, the founder’s brother.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona announced the unsealing of two indictments charging members of the Sinaloa Cartel with international drug trafficking.

The U.S. Attorney’s indictments come after a federal grand jury in Tucson returned superseding indictments on Nov. 13, 2019, and Feb. 19, 2020, against cartel members Aureliano Guzman-Loera of Sinaloa, Mexico, and brothers Ruperto, Jose, and Heriberto Salgueiro-Nevarez of Guadalupe y Calvo, Mexico.

The four Cartel members are accused of allegedly committing various violations of the law by distributing illegal substances such as fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana internationally over seven years.

Prosecutors allege that the Salgueiro-Nevarez brothers operate a faction of the cartel known as the Salgueiro-Nevarez Organization (SNO), while Aureliano Guzman-Loera is the brother of former cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman-Loera.

“El Chapo,” 64, was convicted in February 2019 in a high-profile trial in the United States on charges of leading a multi-million dollar drug enterprise, trafficking tons of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, and participating in the organization of multiple murders as the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, long known as one of Mexico’s largest and most violent drug trafficking organizations.

Of the ten criminal charges he faced, he was found guilty on all of them and was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years.

Guzman, who twice escaped from prison in Mexico, was extradited to the United States in 2017. He is currently serving his sentence at the Supermax federal prison in Florence, Colorado.

The State Department is offering a reward of up to $5 million in exchange for key information leading to the arrest or conviction of Guzman-Loera and the Salgueiro-Nevarez brothers.

The indictment of the alleged criminals comes in the midst of one of the largest immigration crises in U.S. history. The collapse of the borders allows drug cartels to more easily enter the United States and operate from small towns in southern states.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office revealed on Thursday, Nov. 4, that the leader of one of the cartel’s cells, identified as Armando, was arrested along with four other organization members on Oct. 28, reported the Daily Mail.

The Attorney General’s Office said Armando was in charge of the monthly production of at least 70 kilos of fentanyl paste that ultimately becomes 70 million pills, enough to kill up to 30 million users a month with the addictive drug.

The Drug Enforcement Administration listed the Sinaloa Cartel and the main rival Jalisco Cartel – New Generation, as the two leading Mexican organizations responsible for flooding U.S. streets with narcotics. 

“The Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) appear to be increasing the production of wholesale quantities of fentanyl in both powder and pill forms,” the DEA added.

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