Two Mexican cartels, Sinaloa and Jalisco, have foot soldiers in every state in the Union and “pose the greatest criminal drug threat the United States has ever faced,” said Jon C. DeLena, the DEA’s associate administrator for business operations at a House hearing.
The Sinaloa cartel is one of the oldest drug-trafficking organizations in Mexico and controls territory near the Pacific Coast, according to Mr. DeLena’s written testimony. It typically smuggles drugs into the U.S. through crossing points in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas to reach distribution hubs in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver, and Chicago.
The Jalisco cartel is based in Guadalajara in the Mexican state of Jalisco. It uses trafficking corridors that run through the border cities of Tijuana, Mexicali, Ciudad Juarez, Matamoros, and Nuevo Laredo. It has U.S. distribution hubs in Los Angeles; Seattle; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago; and Atlanta.
RUTHLESS AND VIOLENT
“The Jalisco cartel’s rapid expansion of its drug trafficking activities is characterized by the organization’s willingness to engage in violent confrontations with Mexican government security forces and rival cartels,” Mr. DeLena said.
“These ruthless, violent criminal organizations have associates, facilitators, and brokers in all 50 states as well as in more than 40 countries around the world,” Mr. DeLena told the health subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “I have seen firsthand what the Mexican cartels have done to our great country. The cartels are destroying families and communities with callous indifference and greed.”
Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids have soared from nearly 10,000 in 2015 and 20,000 in 2016 at the onset of fentanyl infiltration into the US. It went to 56,000 in 2020 and more than 70,000 in 2021, according to the most recent federal figures based on death certificates. Last year, it was over 100,000.
“Those two specific cartels, Jalisco and Sinaloa, that are causing all of this harm are operating virtually with impunity,” he said. “We need the Mexican government to lean in and do a lot more.”
The Sentinel believes that they enter the US freely and with impunity too. They have been able to take hold in our states partly due to an open border and lax law enforcement.