Mexican Cartels Spread Across America, Triggering Turf Battles, DEA Reports

( – The Department of Justice last week announced that seven members of the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel were sentenced for their involvement in a drug trafficking conspiracy to distribute illicit drugs in the United States.

Of the seven people sentenced, only two were residents of Mexico. The rest were living in the United States.

Earlier this month, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released its 2024 National Drug Threat Assessment report which revealed that members of Mexican drug cartels, including the brutal Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels, play a key role in the fentanyl crisis in the United States.

The cartels have wormed their way into communities throughout the United States and across nearly 50 countries around the globe, in large part due to encrypted apps and social media platforms, the DEA said in a May 8 press release.

The cartels, which operate clandestine drug labs in Mexico, have created global supply chains that they use to distribute and transport their drugs worldwide.

The traffickers and their associates use social media and encrypted apps to advertise their products, collect payments, recruit and train their couriers, and even deliver their products without ever having to meet their customers face-to-face, according to the report.

Thanks to the “mutually profitable partnerships” the cartels have built with Chinese-based chemical companies, the Mexican cartels obtain the precursor chemicals needed to manufacture synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Similarly, the cartels work with Chinese money launderers to clean the dirty proceeds of their illegal trafficking.

In 2022, nearly 108,000 Americans were killed due to illegal drugs, with 70 percent of those deaths caused by synthetic opioid overdoses. The remaining 30 percent were killed by methamphetamine use or other synthetic stimulants, the DEA said.

Hector Alejandro Apodaca-Alvarez of Somerton, Arizona was one of the seven Sinaloa cartel members sentenced last week.

Apodaca-Alvarez used his trucking business and the US mail to send tens of thousands of fentanyl tablets, as well as kilos of meth, cocaine, and fentanyl, to an undercover agent posing as a buyer from South Florida.

Apodaca-Alvarez revealed to the agent that he worked directly with Ismael “El Mayo” Sambada Garcia, the co-founder of the Sinaloa cartel.

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