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Sinaloa Cartel

The Sinaloa Cartel is based in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, but operates in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, the Western District of Texas, and other states in Mexico and the United States. The Sinaloa Cartel controls about half the entire US drug market. Mexico is the primary route for the transport of illegal drugs into the US and Tijuana is the gateway to southern California. The trafficking of narcotics is a very lucrative business. Mexico is well-known for its illegal drug trade and the violence and corruption the industry fosters.

Sinaloa has suffered more homicides than any other state over the last three decades, with over 7,000 murdered over the 10 years 1997-2007. According to a study conducted by the State Attorney General's Office, there were 588 murders linked to organized crime from January 2007 thru October 2007. The study also reports that 80% of the murders were committed with firearms, and 60% of those were high-power firearms (i.e. AK-47s, AR-15s, and machine guns). Sinaloa is considered a strategic bridge for the trafficking of drugs to the US and is the birthplace for the heads of Mexico's principal cartels.

Joaquin GUZMAN Loera, aka "Chapo," is a co-leader of the Sinaloa Cartel with Ismael "Mayo" ZAMBADA Garcia. GUZMAN and ZAMBADA are responsible for the importation and distribution of thousands of kilograms of cocaine and thousands of pounds ofmarijuana into and throughout the United States. The proceeds from the sale of those drugs are ultimately returned to GUZMAN and ZAMBADA in Mexico.

In 2007-2010 there was a “narco war” between the incumbent Arellano Felix Organization (aka AFO, Tijuana Cartel) and the Sinaloa Cartel, but thereafter crime was between smaller cells within the Sinaloa Cartel as well as independent operators. GUZMAN and ZAMBADA supported the Gente Nueva in their war with the Juarez Cartel by supplying money and weapons. Ciudad Juarez, a city on the border with the US state of Texas, is a key drug transit route.

On Valentine’s Day 2013, the heads of the Chicago Crime Commission and the Chicago office of the US Drug Enforcement Administration named infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán as the city’s Public Enemy No.1. The label came 84 years after gangster Al Capone first earned it following the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929. His organization helped turn the US’s third-largest city into one of the nation’s largest drug trafficking hubs, with the violence that come with that designation. Sinaloa Cartel traffickers sit on the top of the pile, and they feed down all the way to the street level dealers.

Forbes magazine listed Guzman among the world's most powerful people, saying he was worth more than $1 billion. Guzman was first captured in 1993, but in 2001 he escaped from a maximum security prison in a laundry truck.

On 22 February 2014 the world's most wanted drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, was behind bars after Mexican and US agents captured him at a hotel in the Mexican resort of Mazatlan. Agents had been tracking Guzman for weeks after Mexican police arrested other top members of his Sinaloa drug cartel. They believe Guzman had been able to avoid capture through a series of hideouts and escape tunnels before arresting him without a shot being fired.

Guzman's 11 July 2014 prison escape - his second in the past 14 years - was accomplished through a 1.5-kilometer underground tunnel, dug in secret from his cell to a nearby village. It was a major embarrassment to the administration of President Pena Nieto, which had been praised for its aggressive push against Mexico's top drug traffickers.

Guzman was re-captured by the Mexican marines, acting on a tip from US Intelligence. They raided a home before dawn 08 January 2016 in the city of Los Mochis, in Guzman’s home state of Sinaloa. The assault team was fired on from inside the structure. Mexican officials said five suspects were killed and six others arrested. One marine was slightly wounded.

The primary purpose of the Sinaloa Cartel is to smuggle large quantities of cocaine and marijuana, as well as other drugs, into the United States and distribute them to various destination cities in the United States. The Cartel's success is achieved by securing, maintaining and regulating transportation routes for drugs and drug proceeds between Mexico and the United States. In order to secure and maintain these lucrative "corridors," the members and associates of the Sinaloa Cartel commit acts of violence.

Though the majority of both Baja California and Baja California Sur states remain primarily under the control of the Sinaloa Cartel from an organized crime perspective, police have arrested members from every cartel in Mexico throughout Baja California and Baja California Sur. Reasons for this are varied but primarily revolve around the potential illicit money to be made in this key corridor. Many other TCOs will send “scouts” from their organizations to assess the area. There are many others who try to set up independent trade routes.

There is also an increasing problem with criminal deportees from the US to Tijuana, and due to a lack of options, they begin working with the local criminal organizations. As law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border succeed in arresting high level members of TCOs, unrest and power plays among the lower ranks tend to ensue. It is also believed to be part of the Sinaloa business model to not allow any of its operators to get too powerful. Thus, they are set up in small cells and often have skirmishes among themselves, although they all report back to the same parent organization.

Regional lieutenants, and their cell members, oversee drug smuggling and money laundering activities, and employ and direct groups including the Gente Nueva ("New People") and the gangs known as Artistas Asesinos ("Murder Artists", aka Los Doble A's, Doblados, (AA», and the "Mexicles", to engage in violent activities in furtherance of the objectives of the Sinaloa Cartel.

The enforcement operations for the Sinaloa Cartel generally are.carried out by teams of assassins, known in Spanish as sicarios. Their enforcement activities include gathering information or intelligence about competing drug organizations, including the Juarez Cartel, and its enforcement arm, known as La Linea and the Barrio Aztecas; enforcing discipline among the members of or persons working on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel, such as those who could or would not account for lost loads of controlled substances or other acts of perceived disloyalty; and committing acts of violence against competitors and errant cartel members through such means as kidnaping, torture, and murder of the responsible person or his or her family members.

Often, the murders involve extreme violence and a public display of the victim, including mutilation and dismemberment of body parts in some ritualistic or symbolic fashion and the display of banners bearing written warnings, known as a "narco manta" or "narco pinta."

The proceeds generated by trafficking in cocaine and marijuana are returned to the Sinaloa Cartel through various methods of money laundering. That money is then used by leadership in the Sinaloa Cartel to pay its members and associates; to reinvest in the acquisition, production, and trafficking of drugs; to invest in the Sinaloa Cartel by purchasing assets and properties related to the daily function of the Sinaola Cartel, to include firearms, ammunition, bullet-proof vests, radios, telephones, uniforms, and vehicles.

The Sinaloa Cartel, including its leadership, membership, and associates, constituted an "enterprise," as defined by Title 18, United States Code, Section 1961 (4) (hereinafter "the Enterprise") that is to say, a group of individuals associated-in-fact. The Sinaloa Cartel constituted an on-going organization whose members functioned as a continuing unit for a common purpose of achieving the objective of the Sinaloa Cartel. This Enterprise was engaged in, and its activities affected, interstate and foreign commerce.

The purpose of the Enterprise included the following: .

  • Enriching the members and associates of the Sinaloa Cartel through, among other things, conspiracy to import and distribute illegal controlled substances, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit murder.
  • Promoting and enhancing the Sinaloa Cartel and the activities of its members and associates.
  • Preserving and protecting the power, territory and profits of the Sinaloa Cartel through the use of intimidation, violence, threats of violence, kidnaping, torture and murder.
  • Keeping rival traffickers, potential informants, witnesses against the Sinaloa Cartel, law enforcement, the media, and the public-at-Iarge in fear of the Sinaloa Cartel, and in fear of its members and associates through threats of violence and violence.
  • Preserving the ongoing viability of the Sinaloa Cartel by kidnaping, torturing and murdering those determined to be enemies of the Sinaloa Cartel, disloyal to the Sinaloa Cartel, or those who lose or steal Sinaloa Cartel assets.

The Sinaloa Cartel, coordinated with transportation cells to arrange for large quantities of cocaine and marijuana to be imported into the United States through various drug trafficking routes including the international bridges between Ciudad Juarez and EI Paso, Texas, and the miles of open desert stretching out into the Juarez Valley,

Jose Antonio TORRES MARRUFO was an independent drug trafficker in the Villa Ahumada, Chihuahua, Mexico area prior to 2007/2008. At that time TORRES MARRUFO primarily trafficked in marijuana after paying "tax" to Sergio GARDUNO-ESCOBEDO for permission to move drugs through the Juarez corridor into the United States. When war broke out in Juarez, TORRES MARRUFO and others formed the Gente Nueva, and approached ZAMBADA and GUZMAN for support against the Juarez Cartel.

In late 2007 or early 2008, at GUZMAN's direction, TORRES MARRUFO became the regional lieutenant in the Juarez area, responsible for the Cartel's enforcement operations. TORRES - MARRUFO oversaw numerous assassin squads dedicated to fighting against La Linea and the Barrio Aztecas on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel.

In September 2009, at TORRES MARRUFO's direction, he caused several persons to kidnap Sergio SAUCEDO in Horizon City, Texas, a small community southwest ofEI Paso, Texas. The kidnaping was the result of Sergio SAUCEDO having lost approximately 670 pounds of marijuana owned by the Sinaloa Cartel to a seizure by law enforcement agents in Sierra Blanca, Texas, on August 5, 2009. After the kidnaping, Sergio SUCEDO was taken to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where TORRES MARRUFO interrogated him and ordered that he be killed. On about September 8, 2009, Sergio SAUCEDO's mutilated body was found in Juarez; he had been beaten and strangled and his hands had been severed above the wrists and placed on his chest, to serve as a warning to those who might attempt to steal from the Cartel.

TORRES MARRUFO coordinated cocaine and marijuana shipments into the United States for the Sinaloa Cartel through the Juarez corridor. TORRES MARRUFO exclusively used the logo of a 'jaguar" on cocaine bundles to designate his ownership.

Among the many drug trafficking legends created by the people in the violent Mexican state of Sinaloa, Hector “El Guero” Palma tops the list as one of the most ruthless and powerful drug traffickers of the country. Story has it he witnessed the murder of his father at age 15 and a few years later became one of Mexico's most feared assassin after taking full revenge of his fathers death.

The US Federal Bureau of Prisons revealed that on June 11 El Guero will have favorably served his sentence after 19 years in jail and therefore will be released. The infamous drug lord, who ran the Sinaloa Cartel for many years along with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, would be handed over to U.S. immigration officials by marshals at Atwater prison in northern California to be escorted to Mexico, where he will be delivered to officials from the federal Attorney General's office, or PGR.

He will then be immediately released and according to many experts, including DEA's Mike Vigil, the 55-year-old drug trafficker will again do the only thing he's good at: drug trafficking and killing. A spokesperson for U.S. Department of Immigration said, “Once he is released ... he will be taken to Mexicali and the border with Calexico and handed over to PGR agents.”

In Mexico, according to authorities, he already served the 12-year sentence handed down to him for illegal possession of military weapons and false documents, and drug trafficking.

“But Guero Palma's problem is he is the type of person that loves power, and so what is expected of him is that he immediately meets with his old allies and return to the business,” said Vigil, a retired DEA official and author of the book entitle “Deal,” in which he talks about the Sinaloa Cartel operations.

Palma faced a few problems, however, upon his return to Mexico, because another of Mexico's biggest drug traffickers, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, who is said to be a traitor himself, will not trust El Guero since he is believed to have been part of the FBI's Witness Protection Program. Lawyers came out in defense of Palma saying his “sentence in the United States was reduced because of good conduct and not because he cooperated with U.S. agents,” according to his defense attorney Frank Rangen.

All those who truly know how drug trafficking works in Mexico, are fully aware that El Guero never stopped having power and never quit doing business, not even when inside jail both in Mexico and the United States.

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Page last modified: 10-04-2016 20:52:32 ZULU