Mexico’s President Accuses U.S. of “Arrogant Interference” in Sinaloa Cartel

Puerto Vallarta (PVDN) – Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has criticized what he claims is U.S. “spying” and “interference” in Mexico, following the announcement by U.S. prosecutors of charges against 28 members of the Sinaloa Cartel for trafficking large quantities of fentanyl into the United States. López Obrador suggested that the case relied on information gathered by U.S. agents in Mexico, and emphasized that “foreign agents cannot be in Mexico.” He described the Sinaloa investigation as “abusive, arrogant interference that should not be accepted under any circumstances.”

The former head of international operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration, Mike Vigil, has criticized López Obrador’s comments as unjustified. Vigil pointed out that López Obrador was mistaken in assuming that U.S. agents needed to be in Mexico to collect intelligence for the case. Rather, much of the case appears to have come from trafficking suspects caught in the U.S. Vigil added that López Obrador’s comments could damage the working relationship between the two countries, and lead to increased drug trafficking and violence.

After the first attempt at capturing a leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, and the son of El Chapo, Ovidio Guzmán López, Mexico’s president intervened and ordered the military to release him hours after he was captured. It was only a couple of months later that the President made an unscheduled stop on a dirt road in Sinaloa where he approached a car to greet the passenger, who was identified as El Chapo’s mother, who has exchanged pleasantries and letters with the president over his time in office. At the very least, the President has shared a warm relationship with the founding family of the cartel, and recent actions against the criminal group by the United States have caused the Mexican President to lash out on several occasions.

López Obrador recently stated that fentanyl is a U.S. problem and not produced in Mexico. He has suggested that American families hug their children more or keep their adult children at home longer to combat the fentanyl crisis. He has also made it clear that combating Mexico’s domestic security problems takes priority over fighting fentanyl trafficking, and that Mexico is helping only out of goodwill.

The recent U.S. charges reveal the brutal methods the Sinaloa cartel used to move large quantities of increasingly cheap fentanyl into the United States. The cartel was wholesaling counterfeit pills containing fentanyl for as little as 50 cents apiece, apparently in an effort to corner the market and build up a core group of addicts. López Obrador’s own administration has acknowledged the presence of dozens of fentanyl labs in Mexico, primarily in the northern state of Sinaloa.

Most illegal fentanyl is pressed by Mexican cartels into counterfeit pills made to resemble other medications, including Xanax, oxycodone, and Percocet, or mixed into other drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Many people who die of overdoses in the United States do not realize they are taking fentanyl.

López Obrador deeply resents U.S. allegations of corruption in Mexico, and in 2020, he fought to avoid a U.S. trial of former defense secretary Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos on charges of aiding a drug gang. López Obrador even threatened to expel DEA agents from Mexico unless the general was returned, which he was. Cienfuegos was quickly released upon his return. Since then, the Mexican government has imposed restrictive rules on how agents can operate in Mexico, and slowed down visa approvals for a time.

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