Editor's note: Following Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's escape from Mexico's highest security prison, the U.S. offered to assist in the manhunt for the Sinaloa Cartel head. The New York Times reports that Mexican officials have not given an answer on the extra help, "confounding law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border and undermining efforts to recapture Mr. Guzman." - Stephanie
Editor's note: This is the second time Joaquín Guzmán Loera, known as 'El Chapo,' has escaped from prison in Mexico. The leader of the feared Sinaloa drug cartel was captured first in 1993 in Guatemala before being tried and jailed. In 2001 he escaped from prison, living on the run for 13 years before being recaptured in 2014. A major search operation has been launched. - David
Mexican federal judge orders immediate release of cartel 'Queen of the Pacific' after throwing out 5-year money-laundering sentence; Sandra Avila Beltran had been jailed for her alleged role as a liaison between Mexican and Colombian drug cartels - @AP
The Sinaloa Cartel (Spanish: Cártel de Sinaloa or CDS) is an international drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime syndicate. Established during the mid-1980s, the Sinaloa Cartel is based primarily in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa, with operations in the Mexican states of Baja California, Durango, Sonora, and Chihuahua. The cartel is also known as the Guzmán-Loera Organization and the Pacific Cartel, the latter due to the coast of Mexico from which it originated. The cartel has also been called the Federation and the Blood Alliance. The 'Federation' was partially splintered when the Beltrán-Leyva brothers broke apart from the Sinaloa Cartel.
The United States Intelligence Community considers the Sinaloa Cartel "the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world" and in 2011, the Los Angeles Times called it "Mexico's most powerful organized crime group." The Sinaloa Cartel is associated with the label "Golden Triangle", which refers to the states of Sinaloa, Durango, and Chihuahua. The region is a major producer of Mexican opium and marijuana. According to the U.S. Attorney General, the Sinaloa Cartel is responsible for importing into the United States and distributing nearly 200 tons of cocaine and large amounts of heroin between 1990 and 2008. According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, within the U.S. the Sinaloa Cartel is primarily involved in the distribution of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana and MDMA.