MEXICO CITY — According to a recent indictment unsealed on April 14th in Manhattan, the sons of Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán have been accused of establishing a network of fentanyl labs to continue the family business after their father was sentenced to life in prison. The Associated Press reports that while their father’s trial was focused on cocaine shipments, the indictment against his sons exposes how the cartel is undergoing a generational shift, with the new leaders determined to manufacture and sell the most potent fentanyl at the lowest price possible in the United States. They are accused of setting up labs to make it and smuggling it into the United States.
Prosecutors have alleged that the “Chapitos,” as the sons are commonly known, have resorted to horrifying violence to safeguard and expand their fentanyl business. The lead defendants in the New York indictment are enforcers Ivan Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar and Jesus Alfredo Guzmán Salazar, along with 23 other associates. Another indictment in the same district charges Ovidio Guzmán López, also known as “the Mouse,” who is accused of driving the cartel into fentanyl production. Mexican authorities apprehended him in January, and the U.S. government has requested his extradition. Joaquín Guzmán López is also facing charges in the Northern District of Illinois.
The Guzmán Salazar indictment claims that the cartel conducts lab testing on its fentanyl product, but more frequently subjects kidnapped rivals or addicts to gruesome human testing by injecting them until they overdose.
Fentanyl now kills more people in the U.S. than all the American soldiers who died in the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars combined. Some politicians are saying that cartels should be called terrorist groups, and some people are even talking about sending the U.S. military to stop them.