Sinaloa Cartel Members Jailed for Fentanyl Trafficking

( — Seven members and associates of the Sinaloa drug cartel were sentenced last week after pleading guilty to their roles in a broader drug trafficking conspiracy.

According to a May 16 press release from the Department of Justice, the seven individuals, both from the US and Mexico, were involved in a drug trafficking conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, including fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine.

The DEA’s 2024 National Drug Threat Assessment found that the Sinaloa cartel plays a central role in the ongoing fentanyl crisis in the United States. The cartel operates clandestine drug labs throughout the Sinaloa region of Mexico and has created worldwide supply chains from which it distributes and transports the drugs into the US.

Fentanyl is considered the deadliest drug threat in the US, with 38,000 Americans killed in the first six months of 2023, according to the Justice Department.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in the press release that the sentences imposed on the seven defendants reflected “the deadly nature of the crimes” committed by drug cartels when US communities are flooded with illegal drugs like fentanyl.

According to the Justice Department, from June 2022 until May of last year, one of the defendants, 53-year-old Hector Alejandro Apodaca-Alvarez of Somerton, Arizona, used the US postal service and his trucking business to send tens of thousands of fentanyl pills and kilogram quantities of fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine to an undercover agent in South Florida.

The agent also exchanged money for narcotics with Apodaca-Alvarez and his co-defendants in Arizona, California, and Massachusetts.

Apodaca-Alvarez, who was previously convicted for drug trafficking offenses in three federal districts before his arrest, told the undercover agent that he worked directly with members of the Sinaloa cartel to help facilitate the large-scale distribution of drugs. He boasted that the fentanyl he supplied was so potent that it “was dropping people everywhere.”

According to the Justice Department, Apodaca-Alvarez worked directly with Sinaloa cartel founder Ismael Zambada Garcia, AKA “El Mayo.”

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