Mexico nets Sinaloa cartel members

Jan 31, 2016, 7:28 PM EST

Mexican police working with U.S. agencies have arrested 24 members of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel in a joint border operation.

The BBC writes:

A spokesman for the U.S. authorities said the operation had targeted high-level members of the cartel. The spokesman said the operation had dealt a strong blow to the criminal organisation. It comes weeks after the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Joaquin Guzman was arrested after six months on the run. The spokesman, for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency said they had helped Mexican police target a Sinaloa cartel cell operating around the Mexican city of Sonoyta, along the border with the US state of Arizona. He said it was responsible for importing millions of dollars of illegal drugs, including cannabis, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine into the US from Mexico during its existence. The operation was conducted in total secrecy with police working in both Lukeville and Sonoyta, bordering cities that are on the route to the Puerto Penasco, the popular beach destination many Americans know as Rocky Point. Mexican police officers had been allowed into the US to keep them safe during the operations the US immigration authorities had said.

Reuters writes:

Operating around Sonoyta, a Mexican city along the border with the U.S. state of Arizona, the Sinaloa cartel has smuggled millions of pounds of illegal drugs, millions of U.S. dollars and weapons between the two countries, ICE said. Mexican drug gangs are known to pay or coerce migrants to smuggle small amounts of drugs across the border, while also using underground tunnels and the cover of cargo shipments to move much larger loads of drugs into the United States. The joint operation is further evidence of a more cooperative relationship between the United States and Mexico in cracking down on drug cartels responsible for taking billions of dollars worth of narcotics across the border every year. Mexican authorities had extensive help from Washington in recapturing Guzman in a violent standoff in early January. Guzman had humiliated Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto with a jaw-dropping escape from a maximum security prison.