These are the 6 Mexican drug cartels fueling the U.S. drug and opioid crisis according to the DEA

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has released its 2019 National Drug Threat Assessment, where the U.S. agency analyzes the opioid crisis, as well as the threat posed by local and transnational drug trafficking organizations.

According to the recent report, Mexican drug cartels continue to control lucrative drug trafficking routes in the border between Mexico and the U.S. and still “maintain the greatest drug trafficking influence in the United States;” what is more, Mexican cartels continue to grow despite the war on drug cartels implemented by Mexican Presidents Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto, which spanned for a decade.

According to the DEA, Mexican cartels thrive as a result of the alliances with smaller and independent cartels, transnational gangs, U.S. street gangs, prison gangs, and Asian money laundering organizations.

The report adds that the six Mexican cartels with the biggest impact in the U.S. are the Sinaloa Cartel, Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación, Beltrán Leyva Organization, Juárez Cartel, Gulf Cartel, and Los Zetas Cartel.


The Sinaloa Cartel, also known as the Pacific Cartel, is one of the oldest and more established drug cartels in Mexico and controls drug trafficking in several regions, especially in the Pacific Coast. It also has the “most expansive international footprint.”

This Mexican drug cartel, formerly led by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, exports and distributes methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl to U.S. cities such as Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver, Atlanta, and Chicago.


The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), is based in Guadalajara, Jalisco. It distributes drugs in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta. Furthermore, this drug trafficking organization is “one of the most powerful and fastest-growing cartels in Mexico and the United States” as it has a presence in at least 24 of 32 Mexican states.

This drug cartel is characterized by its rapid expansion and its willingness to “engage in violent confrontations with Mexican Government security forces and rival cartels.”


The Beltrán-Leyva Organization was created in 2008 when the Beltrán Leyva brothers and their associates split from the Sinaloa Cartel. Although all the Beltrán-Leyva brothers have been either killed or incarcerated, splinter groups still operate in several Mexican states such as Guerrero, Morelos, Nayarit, and Sinaloa. The two main groups are Los Rojos and Los Guerreros Unidos, which have a prominent role in the heroin trade and who are allegedly implicated in the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.

This drug cartel mainly traffics marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine in Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Chicago.


The Juárez Cartel is one of the oldest Mexican drug cartels. For years, it was embroiled in a turf war with the Sinaloa Cartel. It has influence in El Paso, Denver, Chicago, and Oklahoma City. It smuggles marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.


The Gulf Cartel has been operating for decades and is based in Tamaulipas. It traffics marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. It has fought against Los Zetas in order to dominate certain areas after the two split in 2010. It has a strong presence in Houston and Detroit.


The Los Zetas Cartel. It was formed as an independent cartel in 2008 when it split from the Gulf Cartel. After controlling drug trafficking all over Mexico, internal conflicts, rival cartels, and Mexican authorities lessened its influence and power in recent years. This drug cartel is divided into two rival groups: the Northeast Cartel and Old School Zetas.

This violent Mexican drug cartel traffics methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin in Laredo, Dallas, and New Orleans.


According to the intelligence report, drug cartel leaders based in the U.S. often conceal themselves by living in densely populated Mexican-American communities.

And although several drug trafficking organizations are on the rise, the Sinaloa Cartel is still the biggest threat to the U.S. by dominating the U.S. West Coast, in the Midwest, and in the Northeast. The second most dominant drug cartel is CJNG, which has focused on the heroin markets.

Shedding light on the way drug cartels launder money, the DEA argues that these criminal organizations use different methods such as bulk cash smuggling, the placement of proceeds into the U.S. banking system, electronic transfer to Mexico, networks of money brokers, the Money Service Businesses, foreign exchange businesses, the purchase of assets with cash, and shell companies to receive electronic transfers, and cryptocurrencies.

Source: El Universal

The Mazatlan Post

Facebook Comments