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The End of the Big Cartels

Why There Won’t Be Another El Chapo

El Chapo arrives in New York after his extradition from Mexico, January 2017 Reuters

Earlier this month, a federal jury in New York convicted Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, the former kingpin of Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa Cartel, on ten charges related to drug trafficking. El Chapo was stunned, his wife cried, and U.S. authorities crowed.

For some, the verdict offered finality: “The reign of Joaquín Guzmán Loera’s crime and violence has come to an end,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

For others, vindication: “There are those who say the war on drugs is not worth fighting,” said Richard P. Donoghue, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “Those people are wrong.”

Some spoke of heroism: “Today’s verdict,” said U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, “sends an unmistakable message to transnational criminals: You cannot hide, you are not beyond our reach, and we will find you and bring you to face

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