Sinaloa group 101: Five facts about Mexico's powerful drug cartel

The Sinaloa cartel is the most powerful drug trafficking organization operating in Mexico – and, some say, in the Western Hemisphere. Who are they?

2. The Sinaloa group’s origins

The Sinaloa group has its origins in the state of Sinaloa, on Mexico’s northwest Pacific coast. From the 1970s, the state was a key area for moving Colombian cocaine and other contraband, as well as for the cultivation of marijuana and poppy. The drug-trafficking network evolved from a group of rural families, who over the decades have formed alliances with groups in various parts of the country. For a detailed history of their start, see a background page by the security analyst group InSight Crime.

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