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Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco Delivers Remarks on Charges Against Sinaloa Cartel’s Global Operation


Washington, DC
United States

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Mr. Attorney General.

Today in the United States an American dies—on average—nearly every eight minutes from fentanyl poisoning.

The fentanyl crisis in America—fueled in large part by the Sinaloa cartel—threatens our public health, our public safety, and our national security.

Today’s indictments reflect the Justice Department’s commitment to attacking every aspect of this threat—and the cartels that drive it—from the chemical companies in China that spawn fentanyl precursors, to the illicit labs that produce the poison, to the networks and money launderers and murderers that facilitate its distribution.

The Department of Justice is combating the cartels and the fentanyl epidemic the same way we’ve fought other threats: by targeting every aspect of their networks and by using all tools of national power to dismantle them.

Just as we went on offense against terrorists and cyber criminals around the globe, the Department is now waging a relentless campaign to disrupt the production and trafficking of fentanyl—before it can reach its victims.

The cases announced today expose the threat in disturbing detail: from precursor chemicals to suppliers, from chemists and distributors to hitmen.

Each of the nearly 30 defendants in these cases represent part of the machine that is pumping poisonous fentanyl into cities and towns across our country.

We won’t grind the cartel machine to a halt unless we attack it from every angle. And to do that, we need to use every tool we can and join forces with partners around our government and around the globe.

As the Attorney General described, earlier this morning, the Treasury Department announced sanctions against two Chinese companies and five individuals responsible for providing precursor chemicals to the Sinaloa Cartel.

And today, the State Department is announcing up to $56 million in rewards for information leading to the capture of these defendants.  

By combining our partners’ authorities with our own to disrupt the criminal networks trafficking fentanyl, the Department and our law enforcement partners are expanding the battle space.

To win this fight, we must also work with partners beyond our borders. We must capitalize on the strength and reach of our law enforcement partnerships around the world, including with our Mexican neighbors. 

Yesterday, the Attorney General and I met with top Mexican security officials. We agreed that we share a common mission: protecting our communities. 

We thanked them for recent actions in service of that mission—including the capture of Ovidio Guzman Lopez, one of the Chapitos, who led the branch of the Sinaloa cartel responsible for large volumes of fentanyl trafficking.

And we acknowledged the sacrifices of Mexican forces in this fight. The cartels that kill Americans with fentanyl are the same deadly forces that have killed brave Mexican officers. 

The blows that we deal to these cartels protect the citizens of both our nations.

But we must do more than just cross geographic borders—we need to expand our efforts into cyberspace.

Thousands of Americans, including children, are dying from fentanyl marketed and distributed over social media.

It’s no longer enough to protect our children from drug dealers in the park or on the street corner—because now those drug dealers ply their deadly trade on social media apps running on the phones in our kids’ pockets.

Last week, the DEA Administrator and I met with social media companies to discuss how they can—how they must—do more to stop the sale of fentanyl on their platforms.

Working together across the government and with the private sector, and using every available tool, we will defeat these cartels.

The women and men of the DEA, the FBI, and their law enforcement partners including at the Department of Homeland Security—and the tenacious prosecutors across the country represented here today—have worked painstakingly over many years to expose this threat and to hold the perpetrators to account.

They do this work to keep their communities safe and to honor those we’ve lost.

It is a privilege to work with them.

And now I’ll now turn it over to the DEA Administrator for more details on this investigation and our fentanyl strategy.

Drug Trafficking
Updated April 14, 2023