The Sinaloa Cartel are probably the richest and most powerful criminal organization on Earth. From the mountains of North West Mexico, their reach now extends not just across North and South America, but into Europe, Africa, and Asia.
This reach and power are based on one thing – trafficking illegal drugs. The US spent millions trying to capture its leader Jaoquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, but his imprisonment in 2019 has barely dented the cartel’s ability to traffic drugs, murder competitors, corrupt officials and rake in billions.
This is because law enforcement and most of the media fundamentally misunderstand how the Sinaloa Cartel works.
This episode of VICE explores how a mix of ultra-flexible adaptability has created a business model that has allowed the Sinaloa Cartel to change with the times, and maintain their hold on the international illicit drugs market.