Another son of Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, Iván Archivaldo Guzmán, has been added to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) blacklist. On Saturday, the DEA announced a $10 million reward for the capture of Ivan Archivaldo, who has joined his older brother, Jesus Alfredo Guzman, on the most-wanted drug traffickers list. This list is dominated by Mexican drug-trafficking criminals, who occupy seven of the top 10 positions.
U.S. authorities have cranked up the pressure on Los Chapitos, successors to part of their father’s criminal empire at the head of the Sinaloa Cartel. A Justice Department document released last week depicted them as major traffickers of fentanyl, a potent opioid that is fueling a public health epidemic north of the border and has now become a diplomatic priority between Mexico and the United States.
Since the arrest of El Chapo Guzmán, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by a New York court in 2019, an internal war has raged at the helm of the organization. Los Chapitos control one of the factions, at odds with veteran Mayo Zambada’s crew. Zambada was also one of the founders of the Sinaloa Cartel and a former associate of their father, and, incidentally, he also appears on the DEA’s list.
The third faction in dispute within the cartel is headed by Rafael Caro Quintero, another veteran who reentered the business after 28 years behind bars for the murder of anti-narcotics officer Kiki Camarena. Until his arrest last year, the drug baron was the DEA’s most wanted criminal. Today, that position is held by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, known as “El Mencho.” He is the head of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), currently the most powerful Mexican cartel, which is at constant war with Sinaloa.
The other three names on the list are high-ranking officials or operators of Los Chapitos’ network. Justice Department documents released last week precisely mapped out the new organizational structure of the Sinaloa Cartel, with the sons of the notorious capo at the helm. By fine-tuning the model founded by their father 30 years ago, which involved marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, the business has focused on expanding the trafficking of fentanyl into the United States.
The Justice Department’s indictment contains six counts against Los Chapitos and 25 other members of the powerful outfit, whose activities commenced in 2014. The youngest of the sons, Ovidio Guzmán López, known as “El Ratón” (‘The Mouse’), was arrested last year and is currently awaiting extradition. He set up their first laboratory for the processing of fentanyl in Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa.
Guzman used the routes operated by his father’s cartel to dispatch small shipments to Tijuana and cross through the usual channels — land, sea and air — to deliver the drugs to Los Angeles. By 2016, the shift in business was more evident. “The Sinaloa Cartel’s fentanyl operation has expanded exponentially in terms of volume, scale and sophistication,” the Prosecutor’s Office documents state.
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