The leading Mexican fentanyl exporter to the US has sent a clear order to its cartel members to stop moving opioids into America. This decision comes from the cartel known as Los Chapitos is concerned about the increased law enforcement pressures and the future arrests of its top leaders.
The message to stop fentanyl’s exportation into America comes from Los Chapitos, a faction of the Sinaloa Cartel, led by the four sons of the notorious drug lord Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán.
Biden Taking Action
The Biden administration has been pushing the Mexican government to take stricter action against the cartel responsible for feeding illegal drugs into the United States, causing countless deaths.
The Fentanyl Van
Los Chapitos recently issued an order to stop the production and sale of fentanyl, and this development follows their previous orders to eliminate street dealers who failed to comply with the fentanyl ban.
Violating the Ban
Since the arrest of Ovidio Guzmán, El Chapo’s son, in January, there have been reports of cartel members being killed for violating the ban.
This development comes amid a staggering number of overdose deaths in the United States, with approximately 109,680 occurring last year, and about 75,000 of those deaths linked to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, often trafficked from Mexico by cartels.
Ovidio was extradited to the United States and faced federal charges, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and weapons-related offenses.
Indicting the Guzman Brothers
In April, the US indicted the four Guzmán brothers and two dozen of their associates, further escalating the pressure on the Sinaloa Cartel.
Pressuring a Rival
The Sinaloa Cartel’s decision to halt fentanyl production is not only motivated by internal concerns but also by an effort to exert pressure on its rival, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which is led by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes.
Rising Drug Exports
The cartel member interviewed by The Wall Street Journal said, “’Exports of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine to the US will likely rise in the near future to make up for the income shortfall from the fentanyl ban.”
Making It Official
The move to stop fentanyl production was made official in July when Los Chapitos instructed producers in Culiacán, Sinaloa, to cease manufacturing the drug.
Sending a Message
In response to this order, several men were found dead with signs of torture and fentanyl pills placed over their bodies as a warning to others who might defy the cartel’s commands. This violent response to non-compliance highlights the seriousness with which the cartel takes its own orders.
In various other incidents in Culiacán and Navolato, bodies were discovered with fentanyl-laced pills, a grim reminder of the consequences for those who do not adhere to the ban. This total ban on highly addictive opioids has also affected the profits of dealers who are no longer making their usual illicit earnings.
The fears of arrests and extraditions to the US have become pervasive among other cartel members and leaders following Ovidio’s capture. Over the past ten days, over a dozen individuals suspected of involvement in the fentanyl trade have gone missing or have been kidnapped.
The human rights activist, Miguel Ángel Murillo, said, “We believe these kidnappings and disappearances are linked to the ban on fentanyl because their relatives haven’t presented formal complaints to authorities. These people are very scared.”
While the production of fentanyl is expected to decrease, US officials are not ruling out the possibility of Mexican cartels trafficking other drugs, such as heroin and firearms, into the United States.
In May, the Guzmán brothers issued a statement distancing themselves from the accusations, saying, “’We have never produced, manufactured or commercialized fentanyl nor any of its derivatives. We are victims of persecution and have been made into scapegoats.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Alexandros Michailidis. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.