MEXICO CITY – Banners appearing this week in Mexico claim that a faction of Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel is banning fentanyl production and sales, according to The Associated Press. The banners in the northern Sinaloa state were purportedly signed by “Los Chapitos,” the sons of “El Chapo” who took over Mexico’s most dominant drug cartel following their father’s arrest.
The banners read, “In Sinaloa, the sale, manufacture, transport or any other business dealing with fentanyl is strictly prohibited, including the sale of chemicals used to produce it. You have been warned. Respectfully, Chapitos.”
Many experts doubt that the cartel leaders are actually prohibiting fentanyl sale and production because it’s one of the cartel’s largest money-makers.
“I think the Chapitos started feeling the pressure when they increased the reward for their capture. I think they are trying to create a massive illusion to take the pressure off,” Mike Vigil, former head of international operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration, told The Associated Press. “It’s almost like a big campaign to convince the U.S. they’re not involved. It’s nothing more than pure propaganda.”
Emily’s Hope previously reported that one of the Chapitos, 33-year-old Ovidio Guzmán López, was arrested and extradited to the United States, where he faces a litany of charges related to drug trafficking and money laundering.
According to an indictment unsealed earlier this year in Manhattan, “Los Chapitos” pushed the Sinaloa cartel into becoming the largest exporter of fentanyl to the United States, resulting in tens of thousands of overdose deaths. Prosecutors also allege that the “Chapitos” have resorted to horrifying violence to safeguard and expand their fentanyl business. The indictment alleges that the “Chapitos” and their associates tortured Mexican federal agents and fed rivals to their pet tigers, as well as used corkscrews, electrocution, and hot chiles for torture.
The cartel sons denied the accusations in a letter from the Guzmán family’s lawyer.