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The Justice Department announced that the leading assassin for the Sinaloa drug cartel has been extradited to the US to answer charges

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a news conference (Via Ben Simmons/Shutterstock)

The Justice Department announced on Saturday that a key assassin for the Sinaloa drug cartel, who was arrested by Mexican authorities last fall, has been sent to the U.S. to face charges related to drugs, firearms, and retaliation against witnesses.

Néstor Isidro Pérez Salas, also known as “El Nini,” is said to have led a group providing security for the sons of the imprisoned drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. Investigators claim he also assisted in their drug operations.

The sons, known as the “Chapitos,” are identified as major exporters of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl to the U.S., which is linked to approximately 70,000 overdose deaths annually.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated in a press release that Pérez Salas was allegedly one of the cartel’s primary hitmen responsible for killing, torturing, and kidnapping rivals and witnesses who threatened their drug trafficking activities.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland (Via Shaun Smith/Shutterstock)

At the time of reporting, Pérez Salas did not have a listed attorney available for comment.

Last year, the Justice Department filed numerous charges against cartel leaders, with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration offering a $3 million reward for Pérez Salas’ capture. He was apprehended in November at a fortified property in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state.

President Joe Biden expressed gratitude to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for facilitating Pérez Salas’ extradition. Biden emphasized continued collaboration between the two countries to combat the fentanyl and synthetic drug crisis, targeting those responsible for producing, smuggling, and selling these dangerous substances.

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