Several high-ranking members of the Sinaloa Cartel, including the sons and older brother of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman-Loera, are the subject of multi-count criminal indictments as well as bounties up to $5 million each, according to the U.S. State Department.
On Dec. 16, the State Department added four of El Chapo’s sons to its Narcotics Rewards Program, including Joaquín Guzman-Lopez and Ovidio Guzman-Lopez.
“The Guzmán-López brothers are currently overseeing approximately eleven methamphetamine labs in the state of Sinaloa producing an estimated 3,000-5,000 pounds of methamphetamine per month,” according to the reward notice. “The methamphetamine is sold wholesale to other Sinaloa members and to U.S.- and Canadian-based distributors.”
Two other of El Chapo’s sons -Ivan Archivaldo Guzman-Salazar and Jesus Alfredo Guzman-Salazar- are also the subject of criminal indictments as well as the bounty of up to $5 million. However, the recent rewards pale in comparison with the $15 million offered for information leading to the capture of El Mayo, also known as Ismael Zambada García, the current head of the Sinaloa Cartel.
The Guzman-Salazar brothers are alleged to have provided significant operational assistance to their father when he led the Sinaloa Cartel. With their father now serving a life sentence plus 30 years in a federal prison, they are said to have increased their power within the Cartel through sophisticated fentanyl laboratories as well as utilization of maritime and air transportation, along with tunnels and border crossings.
The Dec. 16 reward announcements came just weeks after the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tucson requested the unsealing of criminal indictments against El Chapo’s older brother and several other alleged top Sinaloa Cartel officials.
According to public records, Aureliano “El Guano” Guzman-Loera operates a drug trafficking organization which for several years has controlled smuggling routes from Sinaloa, Mexico through Sonora, Mexico and into the United States. His DTO is involved in growing, cultivating, producing, manufacturing, transporting, and distributing marijuana, heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel, the records show.
Although federal grand juries in Arizona issued indictments in 2019 and 2020 against Aureliano Guzman-Loera, believed to be in his mid-70s, the documents were kept under seal at the U.S. District Court in Tucson until early November. The release of the indictments appears tied to a major drug bust in Sinaloa during which 260 pounds of fentanyl was reportedly seized, the largest in history.
There have been media reports that El Chapo’s sons, collectively known as Los Chapitos, have not seen eye to eye with their uncle. This has allegedly led to at least two gunfights in Mexico. In addition, federal law enforcement officials say they have received information which suggests Ovidio Guzman-Lopez has ordered the murders of informants, a drug trafficker, and even a popular Mexican singer who refused to sing at his wedding.
Other alleged Cartel members being prosecuted by federal authorities in Tucson are brothers Ruperto, Jose, and Heriberto Salgueiro-Nevarez. Like Aureliano Guzman-Loera, they are accused of being involved in international conspiracies to distribute marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl into the U.S.
Aureliano Guzman-Loera and the three Salgueiro-Nevarez brothers have also been added to the State Department’s rewards program with a bounty of up to $5 million each.
The recent activity by U.S. officials to draw attention to the upper echelon of the Sinaloa Cartel comes on the heels of information released in September about eight Sonora, Mexico residents being named in federal indictments for their involvement with transportation of fentanyl, heroin, and meth into the U.S. and Canada.
Information about the whereabouts of any of the Sinaloa Cartel members noted in the article can be reported to HSI-Tucson at 520-335-7315.