The US goes after 'El Gigio', leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, for fentanyl trafficking

SONORA.- The government of USA launched an operation to seek to “strangle” fentanyl trafficking on the border with Sonorafor which it will begin with the objective of capturing the plaza boss of the Sinaloa Cartel in Walnuts.

Through a statement, the Office of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the Operation Spike Plazawhose first objective is to stop Sergio Valenzuela Valenzuela, alias 'El Gigio'who has an arrest warrant in the Southern District of California for trafficking in controlled substances.

What is Operation Spike Plaza about?

The operation is carried out in coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in addition to CBP.

The purpose is to stop organized crime that operates transnationally to traffic fentanyl from Mexico to the United States, since according to Troy Miller, head of the CBP, in the plaza of Nogales, Sonora, under the control of 'El Gigio ', approximately 44 percent of the fentanyl detained on the border with Mexico was seized.

Operation Plaza Spike will seek to create a logistical bottleneck within the operations of drug traffickers and hinder the generation of economic resources through intelligence, interruption of operations and initiating legal proceedings against those responsible.

“The United States is plagued by an unprecedented number of overdose deaths, which reach every corner of this country. At the center of this epidemic is illicit fentanyl: a lethal dose is as small as just 2 milligrams, the size of a few grains of sand.

Drug trafficking through Mexican plazas has accelerated the abuse of synthetic drugs, which include opioids such as fentanyl, its analogues, and heroinas well as xylazine, methamphetamine and other chemically synthesized designer drugs,” the statement states.

Seizures exceed 20 million dollars

In addition to “choking” the flow of fentanyl, North American authorities also intend to limit arms trafficking heading south of the border for drug cartels.

According to CBP data, from the beginning of the fiscal year in September 2023 to the end of February 2024, 100 thousand kilograms of drugs have been seized, including 3,628 that were fentanyl, a highly addictive synthetic substance that with a dose of 2 milligrams can cause death; Likewise, 1,600 firearms and almost 200,000 rounds of ammunition have been confiscated.

“For example, during the first two weeks of March 2024, CBP in San Diego stopped 73 different smuggling attempts, seizing 131 pounds of cocaine, 11 pounds of heroin, 10,967 pounds of methamphetamine, and 213 pounds of fentanyl. The total estimated street value of the narcotics was more than 20 million dollars“, indicates the CBP statement.