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DEA and Mexican authorities announce new joint effort in Chicago to target top drug cartel operatives

August 18, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
DEA and Mexican authorities announce new joint effort in Chicago to target top drug cartel operatives

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DEA-Mexican authorities announce joint law enforcement effort in Chicago to target top drug cartel operatives

At a news conference on Wednesday, senior DEA and Mexican law enforcement officials revealed a collaborative effort to form a new law enforcement unit based in Chicago aimed at targeting leading drug cartel figures.

Brian M. McKnight, the DEA Special Agent in Charge in Chicago, said the new task force will team up with Mexican authorities on “high-value targets” to prevent the flow of drugs from Mexican cartels into Chicago.

U.S. Drug Enforcment officials say Chicago has relaced Miami as the nation’s primary drug distribution hub.

A previous Justice Department report listed the Chicago metro area as the top destination point in the United States for heroin shipments, second for cocaine and marijuana. The Windy City also ranks fifth for methamphetamine.

The DEA noted that authorities in Chicago have seized 300 kilos of heroin and fentanyl and $20 million in drug proceeds so far this year, ABC7 reported.

“Today, we begin innovative plans to solve this problem,” McKnight stated.

Along with targeting cartel heads in Mexico, McKnight added that a new Chicago-based, DEA-led drug task force comprised of federal agencies, the Chicago Police, and the Illinois State Police will target “gangs that are involved in drug distribution in the hotspot areas throughout the city.” “To be clear, the drugs are being manufactured in Mexico and the cartels control the routes into the U.S. for distribution.”

The Mexican drug lord known as “El Mencho” was declared Chicago’s “Public Enemy No. 1” by the DEA

U.S. and Mexican authorities have placed a multi-million dollar bounty on the head of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel or CJNG, Nemesio Rubén Oseguera Cervantes, who goes by the nickname “El Mencho.” The CJNG is a violent cartel that expanded its power following the 2016 arrest of infamous drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

“Unfortunately our country is faced with a new menace,” DEA Regional Director North and Central Americas Region Matthew G. Donahue stated.

Donahue referred to the CJNG a “rapidly expanding brand” in Chicago and across the globe.

In March, “El Mencho” became the Chicago DEA’s new “most wanted” drug lord. DEA officials indicated that the CJNG has now built a stronghold in Chicago.

Oseguera Cervantes has already been indicted in Washington D.C. and is thought to be managing his from a Mexican mountain hideout.

“I would say there are multiple high-value targets, dozens of them in Mexico,” McKnight noted. “I don’t want to lose sight of other members and leaders that have a huge footprint in Chicago, including the Sinaloa cartel, the Gulf cartel, and others.”

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