MEXICO CITY — One of the top heroin traffickers for the sons of Sinaloa drug cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was arrested Thursday, Mexican prosecutors said.
Guzman’s sons have largely taken over the cartel following their father’s arrest last year and extradition to the United States.
The Attorney General’s Office said Victor Manuel Felix was arrested at a tony apartment complex in an upscale suburb of Mexico City known as Santa Fe.
Felix is wanted on an extradition request for trafficking heroin to the United States. He also allegedly laundered money and acted as a financial operator for the sons, Ivan and Jesus Alfredo.
Prosecutors said Felix was with the sons when they were kidnapped by a rival gang from a restaurant in 2016. They were later released.
Felix, 30, is believed to have taken over the position from his father, Victor, who was arrested in 2011. He allegedly got heroin from other gangs that produced it in Guerrero and Jalisco states.
Heroin, and specifically Mexican heroin, is fueling a growing addiction and overdose problem in the United States. President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency on Thursday.
The Drug Enforcement Administration said in its 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment this week that Mexican heroin accounted for 93 percent of heroin tested in U.S. markets in 2015, practically displacing production from South America.
It said Mexico’s opium production more than tripled between 2013 and 2016.
The DEA said Mexico’s increasingly refined “white powder” heroin is purer than other varieties. “Increasing poppy cultivation in Mexico, the primary supplier of U.S. heroin markets, ensures it will remain high-purity,” the U.S. anti-drug agency said.