The U.S. State Department announced Friday it would offer up to $5 million each for information that would help authorities capture and convict four Mexican drug cartel kingpins, including the brother of infamous trafficker “El Chapo.”
Along with the brother of jailed drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Aureliano Guzman-Loera, brothers Ruperto Salgueiro-Nevarez, Jose Salgueiro-Nevarez and Heriberto Salgueiro-Nevarez are also wanted by the United States.
The four have been “charged in U.S. indictments for violation of U.S. drug laws, to include international conspiracies to distribute marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
The highly dangerous synthetic opioid fentanyl is “responsible for more than 63% of the 96,779 drug overdose deaths in the United States between March 2020 and 2021,” Price added.
The four operate under the umbrella of the federation of the Sinaloa Cartel, one of Mexico’s most notorious drug trafficking groups, which “El Chapo” led until his imprisonment.
He was extradited in 2017 to the United States, where he was sentenced to life in prison two years later in a trial held under high security.
The State Department statement comes the same day as a Justice Department announcement of indictments charging the four with violating international trafficking laws.
For over a decade, the United States and Mexico have worked together to fight drug trafficking under a program called the Merida Initiative, with the United States providing military firepower, technical support and security training.
In October, the neighboring states agreed to overhaul their approach to address the root causes and step up efforts to curb cross-border arms smuggling.
Mexico is plagued by cartel-related bloodshed that has seen more than 300,000 people murdered since the government deployed the military in the war on drugs in 2006.