Federal officials today announced criminal charges against 43 defendants in the U.S. and Mexico, including leaders of prominent drug cartels in a country that has been plagued with gun violence, reports the Washington Post. The Justice Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the cases, filed in New York and Chicago. Eight defendants were arrested over the past week although current and former alleged kingpins in the organized crime syndicate known as the “Sinaloa Cartel” remain at large.
The action is the latest attempt by U.S. and Mexican law enforcement to stem the flow of drugs, weapons and cash across the Southwest border. Between 1990 and 2008, the indictments charge, the accused drug lords and their allies imported and distributed on American soil nearly 200 tons of cocaine and vast stores of heroin that fetched more than $5.8 billion. Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said the court filings “are among the most significant drug conspiracy charges ever returned” in his city.