“Socalj” for Borderland Beat
It was reported that the DEA had removed three of the most wanted fugitives, including the leaders of CJNG and CDS from their Most Wanted List. At the same time, several key operators for Los Chapitos were added.
This has resulted in several news outlets including El Universal and Infobae incorrectly reporting their removal from the list and it being a possible shift in tactics of going after their underlings instead of the main leaders.
However, this is not the case as the DEA had simply moved those three to the main site to actually highlight those Top 3 fugitives on the list, as they have done many times before. The three fugitive cartel leaders are seen on the main page of DEA.gov, with a link to the rest of the list below. The additions to the list do show the DEA further combatting fentanyl trafficking.
|The Top 3 Fugitives on the DEA website back in April 2022.|
Additions & Updates to the List
The DEA added Óscar Noé Medina González, known as “Panu”; Luis Javier Benítez Espinoza known as “El 14”, and a Chinese man, Kun Jiang, identified as operators of “Los Chapitos” handling fentanyl trafficking to the United States.
Oscar Noe Medina Gonzalez “Panu”
Wanted for Continual Criminal Enterprise (CCE), fentanyl importation conspiracy, fentanyl trafficking, possession of machine guns and destructive devices, conspiracy to possess machine guns and destructive devices, and money laundering conspiracy.
On April 4, 2023, a federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York returned an indictment against Oscar Noe Medina Gonzalez and others.
Luis Javier Benitez-Espinoza
Luis Javier Benítez Espinoza traffics fentanyl for the Sinaloa Cartel and is involved in the movement of large quantities of the synthetic opioid from Mexico to the United States in the form of pills and powder.
In approximately September 2022, Luis Javier Benitez Espinoza, “El Fourteen,” began negotiating the sale of fentanyl pills to a buyer in the U.S. During those negotiations, Benitez Espinoza said that he worked for the “Chapitos” and specifically discussed his prior work with Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar and Oscar Noe Medina Gonzalez, a/k/a “Panu.” In approximately December 2022, in exchange for wire transfers amounting to approximately $4,600, Benitez Espinoza provided approximately 10,000 fentanyl pills to couriers who brought those pills to San Diego where, in approximately January 2023, the pills were provided to a buyer. The fentanyl pills were subsequently seized by the DEA.
On April 4, 2023, a federal grand jury sitting in the Southern District of New York returned an indictment against Luis Javier Benitez Espinoza.
Wanted for Fentanyl importation conspiracy, fentanyl trafficking, and money laundering conspiracy.
Kun Jiang is one of the People’s Republic of China-based suppliers of fentanyl precursor chemicals who own or work for companies that manufacture fentanyl precursor chemicals. Kun Jiang is employed by the People’s Republic of China-based Suzhou Xiaoli Pharmatech Co., Ltd.
In approximately September 2021, a co-conspirator purchased approximately 25 kilograms of fentanyl precursor chemicals from Kun Jiang and his PRC-People’s Republic of China-based company, Suzhou Xiaoli Pharmatech Co., Ltd., on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel in Culiacán. The chemicals were flown from the People’s Republic of China to Mexico, and arrived in Guadalajara, Mexico, on approximately September 2, 2021. The 25-kilogram load was seized by Mexican law enforcement officials at the Guadalajara airport.
On April 4, 2023, a federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York returned an indictment against Kun Jiang.