Prepare to get pissed:
Catapults. “Jalapeños”. Dune buggies. $1 million subs. Sophisticated drug tunnels. Firetruck-sized industrial pipeline drills. These are just a few of the ingenious ways that Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, arguably the world’s largest, most powerful and technologically advanced organized crime syndicate, has tried to perfect the fine art of smuggling drugs into America. And to think, the US’s premier drug enforcement arm gave the Sinaloa a pass to do so largely unhindered during the bloodiest stretch of Mexico’s drug war.
That’s the thrust of a landmark investigation by El Universal, which found that authorities with the US Drug Enforcement Administration and the broader Department of Justice struck a deal with the Sinaloa, in exchange for intelligence about rival cartels. Citing court documents and extensive interviews with both Mexican and US officials familiar with the matter, El Universal reports that the US-Sinaloa arrangement lasted from 2000 to 2012.
It’s unclear what their relationship is today—El Universal reached no conclusion as to whether or not the arrangement still holds.
What we do know, however, based on the investigation’s findings, is that DEA agents not only repeatedly met with Sinaloa heads but did so without bringing Mexican authorities to the table and without tipping off the Mexican government, in clear violation of bilateral agreements. From there:
…the agents of the DEA met with members of the cartels in Mexican territory, to obtain information about their rivals and at the same time establish a network of informants of narco-traffickers, who signed cooperation agreements, subject to results, so that they can obtain future benefits, including charges being dropped in the United States.
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