To first get the drugs into Mexico, for movement into the U.S., the Guzman cartel used “Boeing 747 cargo aircraft, private aircraft, submarines and other submersible and semi-submersible vessels, container ships, go-fast boats, fishing vessels, buses, rail cars, tractor-trailers and automobiles,” the indictment said.
The drugs were then “smuggled” to the U.S. border, the indictment said, and once over the border, the drugs were ferried by truck drivers to major cities across the U.S., including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Detroit, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Washington. Another route went to Vancouver, Canada.
As the drugs flowed north, the money moved south, the indictment said, with “millions of dollars in cash” stored in safe houses as it was gradually transferred to the cartel in Mexico. Guzman himself, the indictment said, “regularly received multimillion-dollar payments.”
To keep the drugs and money flowing, cartel operatives used “cellular telephones, satellite telephones, computers and hand-held PDAs,” the later otherwise known as Palm Pilots.
The Sinaloan cartel also was active in “obtaining guns and other weapons, bribing corrupt public officials, engaging in violence and threats of violence,” and other forms of intimidation.
They sought to acquire weapons from the U.S., and “discussed the use of violence against American and/or Mexican government buildings,” the indictment said.
The second federal indictment was filed under seal in April 2011 in El Paso, and U.S. authorities in West Texas did not announce it until February 2012. This time Guzman was named with 23 other cartel figures on charges focusing on cartel operations between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez in Mexico.
These charges came after two U.S. residents were killed on cartel orders in Ciudad Juarez. In one instance, after a cocaine and marijuana shipment went missing in the U.S., a cartel “kidnap team “ in 2009 grabbed an individual in Horizon City, Texas, tortured him in Ciudad Juarez and killed him. His mutilated body was later found there.
In a second episode in 2010, a bridegroom was kidnapped at his wedding in Ciudad Juarez, along with his brother and uncle. According to the indictment, all three were tortured and slain, their bodies discovered in the bed of a pickup.
“There are several assassins and hit-squad members,” said Joseph Arabit, special agent in charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration in El Paso, in announcing the indictment.
Guzman also has been charged in other indictments in San Diego and Arizona. In all, his maximum punishment if convicted range from the death penalty to life in prison with no parole.
Staff writers Wilkinson reported from Mexico City and Serrano from Washington