March 7, 2023

Arizona DEA Busts Members of The Sinaloa Cartel

The Arizona DEA and Tempe Law Enforcement has scored a major victory against the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel.

arizona dea busts sinaloa drug cartel

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Susana Spiegel

Recovery Writer and Advocate

Last Update on June 5, 2023

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The Arizona DEA and Tempe Law Enforcement has scored a major victory against the Mexican Sinaloa cartel. In an extensive joint investigation with the Drug Enforcement Administration, 150 individuals have been charged and millions of dangerous fentanyl pills were successfully confiscated.

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Arizona DEA and Tempe Police Bust The Sinaloa Cartel

After three years of hard work, the DEA has finally closed in on one of their longest-running investigations1. In an impressive joint effort with Arizona’s AG Office and Tempe Police Department, they have identified a major criminal network — none other than the infamous Sinaloa Drug Cartel.

Alongside this haul were 66 kilograms of powder fentanyl, 138 kilos cocaine – enough to cause havoc on streets – 3100 pounds of methamphetamine plus 35 kilograms of heroin! Guns galore too: 49 firearms alongside $2 million stashed away by cartels leading to an alarming conclusion; these cartels mean serious business!

sinaloa cartel raid and seizure
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As Attorney General Kris Mayes pointed out, the opioid epidemic and fentanyl crisis are heartbreaking realities for countless families across our nation.

Thankfully, Interim Police Chief Josie Montenegro has stepped in to keep these potentially life-threatening substances from further harming our communities – especially those most vulnerable among us: youth and other population groups at risk.

The DEA Mission to Take Down Sinaloa Cartel

In 2022, DEA Arizona took decisive action against one of the most notorious drug cartels in US history. Seizures more than doubled compared to 2021 as agents worked with local authorities and international partners to target a network run by the Sinaloa Drug Cartel.

A major takedown initiative was orchestrated under the leadership of Special Agent Cheri Oz who declared: “This investigation shows our commitment to gaining an advantage on these criminal networks; we won’t rest until they are stopped.”

The History of the Sinaloa Cartel

The notorious Sinaloa cartel has become an international criminal force to be reckoned with, extending its operations into the United States and reaching as far as Minnesota, Washington State and Rhode Island. 

This powerful organization is said to have even surpassed Medillin’s infamous cartel at its peak in the 80s-90s era.

The Sinaloa cartel has a long and complex history. Founded by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the violent criminal organization began in the late 1980s as a major trafficking center for marijuana and other drugs in Mexico.

Over time, the group expanded its reach across the country and eventually into different regions of the world, becoming one of the largest drug trafficking groups in history. 

In addition to smuggling narcotics, they engage in numerous other illegal activities such as money laundering, kidnapping and homicide.

Though their brutal methods have attracted widespread condemnation from international governments and human rights organizations alike, it seems that their influence continues to grow with each passing year.

The Sinaloa Cartel is Destroying American Lives

The Sinaloa Cartel is having a devastating impact on people in the United States and beyond. This cartel is responsible for distributing massive amounts of drugs throughout North and South America, costing thousands of American lives each year due to overdoses.

The cartel has also infiltrated cities across the US with corruption and gang activity, bringing extreme violence into peaceful neighborhoods as they battle government efforts to dismantle their operations.

Many cartel members come to the US with hopes of making money while others use this country as a base to spread their criminal enterprise even further.

They are responsible for ruining families, exploiting vulnerable individuals and creating fear among countless communities.

It’s clear that dismantling this ruthless organization should be a top priority for law enforcement if we want to stop the destruction of lives both here and abroad.

The Sinaloa Cartel is Wreaking Havoc Across America

The Sinaloa and CJNG Cartels are wreaking havoc across America through the mass production of fentanyl in secret Mexican labs.

Making use of chemicals sourced largely from China, these criminal cartels have created an incredibly potent opioid drug – so powerful that just a small amount is enough to be potentially fatal.

Unfortunately, this problem doesn’t end there; often disguised as common prescription medications such as Oxycontin or Xanax, it can also find its way into other street drugs like cocaine and heroin without users knowing any better.

These fake pills that are being distributed2 across America are incredibly deadly.

It’s important to note that the Cartels have began to spread into America setting up shop and exerting influence over many cities across the nation3.

The Government’s Response

The U.S. government has played a major role in countering the activities of the Sinaloa Cartel, one of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in Mexico and around the world.

Law enforcement agencies have been relentless in their efforts to identify and arrest key members of the cartel as well as disrupt their transportation routes and seize assets from drug money laundering channels.

Their efforts have been in partnership with Mexican authorities, who have arrested the cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in recent years4.

Additionally, numerous intelligence agencies work collaboratively together to gather information on illicit activities by the criminal organization and develop strategies to pursue them both domestically and internationally so that they can be brought to justice for their role in supplying drugs throughout society.

The U.S Government Has More Work to do

The U.S. Government needs to take major steps to fight against this cartel, including increased funding for investigations, expanding international law enforcement cooperation, strengthening existing laws and regulations related to money laundering and drug trafficking, as well as providing additional resources to the intelligence community in order to better monitor the activities of this criminal organization.

Furthermore, stiffer penalties need to be imposed on those convicted of cartel-related crimes in order to send a clear message that these acts will not be tolerated by society at large.

By taking more decisive action on these fronts, the U.S. Government has a greater chance of containing the destabilizing influence of this powerful drug trafficking organization.

Get Help for Yourself or a Loved One Struggling With Addiction

If you or your family, or someone you love has been impacted the by the flood of drugs being brought into the state of Arizona by the Sinaloa Cartel, we can help.

At Cornerstone Healing Center, we understand how difficult addiction can be and are here to help you or your loved one get on the path to healing.

We offer comprehensive treatment programs tailored to individuals’ needs to help them achieve lasting sobriety.

Fentanyl addiction is serious and leads to almost 100,000 deaths per year.


[1] DEA, Arizona Attorney General & Tempe Police Announce 150+ Subjects Charged & Massive Quantities of Narcotics Seized

[2] One Pill Can Kill

[3] United States: Areas of Influence of Major Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations

[4] Joaquin Guzman-Loera (Captured)

Published: 3/7/2023

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Author & Reviewers

susana spiegel recovery writer and SEO expert

Susana is a recovery writer and advocate with over 8 years in addiction recovery. She is passionate about sharing accurate and helpful information about mental health, addiction, and recovery. She holds a Bachelor’s in Christian Studies from Grand Canyon University and has over 7 years of working in the addiction field. 

lionel estrada lisac clinical director

Lionel is the Clinical Director of Cornerstone’s Scottsdale treatment facilities. He has had over 4 years at Cornerstone. He is personally in recovery and passionate about helping others overcome substance abuse and mental health challenges; he is trained as an EMDR, adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues.

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