US Blacklists Joaquín Guzmán López, El Chapo's Son, for Fentanyl Trafficking
The US has imposed sanctions on Joaquín Guzmán López, son of El Chapo, and three others for fentanyl trafficking. Learn more about the Sinaloa cartel's involvement in drug trafficking and the ongoing efforts to combat the illicit drug trade.
The United States has imposed economic sanctions on Joaquín Guzmán López, son of Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán Loera, and three other members of the Sinaloa Cartel, along with two companies for fentanyl trafficking, according to a statement from the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
The sanctions were imposed on Joaquín Guzmán López and his associates as part of the Sinaloa cartel network overseen by Los Chapitos, and responsible for a significant part of the illicit trafficking of fentanyl and other deadly drugs. According to OFAC, Guzmán López is involved in running super labs, which have often been supplied by a network led by Sinaloa-based brothers Ludim and Luis Alfonso Zamudio Lerma, and trafficking illicit drugs into the United States.
Who is Joaquín Guzmán López?
Joaquín Guzmán López is the son of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, one of the world’s most notorious drug lords, who was sentenced to life in prison in the US in 2019. After El Chapo's arrest, his four sons inherited the leadership of the Sinaloa Cartel. Joaquín Guzmán López works with his three brothers and is responsible for overseeing many aspects of the drug trafficking empire.
Sanctions against Guzmán López
The US Treasury Department has sanctioned Joaquín Guzmán López, Raymundo Pérez Uribe, Saúl Páez López, and Mario Esteban Ogazón Sedano for their involvement in drug trafficking. It also punishes two companies: Sumilab, for "supplying and shipping chemical precursors" needed to manufacture fentanyl, an opioid up to 50 times more potent than heroin, and Urbanización, Inmobiliaria y Construcción de Obras, for its links to Ogazón Sedano.
As a result of the sanctions, all assets and ownership interests of the sanctioned individuals that are in the United States or the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked. The Treasury, in close coordination with the government of Mexico, will continue to combat the operations of Los Chapitos and the Sinaloa Cartel, said Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson, quoted in the statement.
Fentanyl, the most lethal drug
Fentanyl is the most lethal drug in the United States today, responsible for a significant number of overdose deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 71,000 people died in the country from overdoses of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl in 2021, up from 58,000 the previous year.
Fentanyl trafficking sources
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has denied that drug cartels manufacture fentanyl in Mexico, although he has acknowledged that this finished product and precursor chemicals are smuggled into Mexico from China, a claim that China has refuted. Mexico and China are the main sources of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked directly into the United States, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Growing tensions between the United States and China on multiple fronts have hampered efforts to stop the importation of fentanyl, according to a report by the US Congressional Research Service. Most of the fentanyl trafficked into the United States comes from the Sinaloa Cartel, the DEA claims.
Rewards for information
The U.S. State Department last January offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the apprehension and/or conviction of Joaquín Guzmán López and another $5 million for Ovidio Guzmán López, in addition to a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the apprehension and/or conviction of Iván Archivaldo and Jesús Alfredo Guzmán Salazar.
The US government's sanctions against Joaquín Guzmán López and others involved in drug trafficking are a significant step towards combating the illicit drug trade that has wreaked havoc on communities and claimed countless lives.
However, the problem of fentanyl trafficking remains a complex issue that requires international cooperation to be addressed effectively. The situation underscores the need for a comprehensive approach to drug trafficking that addresses both the supply and demand sides of the problem.