Arizona's U.S. Attorney's office announced the unsealing of two indictments charging high-ranking members of the Sinaloa Cartel, including the brother of its boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman-Loera, with international drug trafficking.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's office of Arizona released on Friday, a federal grand jury in Tucson returned superseding indictments in November 2019 and February 2020 against four Sinaloa cartel members.

The Sinaloa cartel members named in the indictment were Aureliano Guzman-Loera, brother of El Chapo, along with brothers Ruperto, Jose, and Heriberto Salgueiro-Nevarez, CNN reported.

The indictments alleged several violations of U.S. law related to the "international distribution of controlled substances, including fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana, occurring over several years."

The U.S. Attorney's office noted that the Salgueiro-Nevarez brothers allegedly operate a faction of the Sinaloa Cartel known as the Salgueiro-Nevarez Organization (SNO).

KGUN9 reported that an investigation leading to the arrest or conviction of the Sinaloa cartel members is underway by Homeland Security Investigations. The prosecution will be conducted by the U.S. Attorney's office of Arizona.

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U.S. Offers $5M Rewards for Info on Sinaloa Cartel High-Ranking Members

After being charged, the U.S. State Department has announced rewards of up to $5 million for information that will help authorities capture and convict four Sinaloa Cartel high-ranking members, including El Chapo's brother, Aljazeera reported.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that the highly dangerous opioid fentanyl is responsible "for more than 63 percent of the 96,779 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. between March 2020 and 2021.

With the rising number of overdoses, fighting fentanyl smuggling has become the main priority for U.S. agencies.

The State Department noted that the four indicted Mexican drug traffickers operate in the northern Mexico states of Sinaloa and Chihuahua, ABC News reported.

El Chapo was leading Sinaloa Cartel until his most recent capture and imprisonment in 2016. Some reported that he still controls the criminal activity of the group despite being imprisoned.

Sinaloa Cartel and Its Boss 'El Chapo'

The Sinaloa Cartel is considered one of Mexico's most influential drug cartels, with much of the northwest areas as its territory.

The group was founded in the late 1980s and headed by the notorious drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. According to BBC, "El Chapo" or "Short" was once ranked as one of the world's richest men.

Under El Chapo's leadership, the Sinaloa Cartel earned its reputation through violence and outfought several rival groups. 

Officials said the Sinaloa Cartel became the biggest supplier of illegal drugs to the U.S. during El Chapo's reign. Its revenue from drug sales ranged from $3 billion to $39 billion annually.

In 1993, El Chapo was arrested and sentenced to more than 20 years in prison. However, various reports said he continued to be the key figure in the Sinaloa Cartel, even gaining full control of the group in 1995.

El Chapo escaped from prison in 2001 and was apprehended again in 2014 in Sinaloa, Mexico. He again escaped from prison through a tunnel the following year.

In January 2016, Mexican officials announced that El Chapo had been captured again. He was extradited to the U.S. the next year.

El Chapo was sentenced to spend the rest of his days in the ADX Florence "supermax" prison after being sentenced to life imprisonment in 2019.

READ MORE: Clashing Mexican Drug Cartels Leave 2 Police and 7 Others Dead in Mexico

This article is owned by Latin Post.

Written by: Mary Webber

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