A Mexican drug cartel, which was earlier run by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is reportedly flooding Melbourne, Australia's streets with methamphetamine (crystal meth) in a bid to capitalise on drug trafficking.
According to the Herald Sun, the Australian Federal Police are currently trying to figure out whether the Sinaloa cartel was linked to local authorities recently seizing $566 million worth of crystal meth in the largest onshore bust of drugs coming from Mexico to Melbourne.
This comes as Mexican man Juan Manuel Plaza Lopez appeared at the Melbourne Magistrate's Court on Thursday to face charges of being behind an alleged plot to transport 755 kg of meth in 18 pallets of cow hides.
Investigators suspect that Sinaloa and rival cartel Jalisco New Generation could collaborate with criminal groups in Melbourne in an attempt to take control of drug trafficking and money laundering in the city.
Australian police have, meanwhile, conducted a spate of meth-related busts over the past year, with 1.7 tonnes of methamphetamine bound for Melbourne being intercepted in California in January and 480 kilograms discovered in Sydney three month later.
Detective Superintendent Conrad Jensen, head of Australian Federal Police's Mexico office, said in this vein that the past year had seen a change in anti-drug operations.
“A few years ago we were talking about shipments of 50 kg to 100kg — whereas now we are talking about very large seizures which reflects the overall methamphetamine trade from Mexico. Australia is seen as a lucrative market for the drug cartels, with a significant price differential between it and the US market,” he was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying.
The remarks came after US Attorneys for the Eastern District of New York announced last month that the court sentenced Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to life in prison plus 30 years. Earlier this year, he was found guilty by a federal court in Brooklyn on 10 charges, including drug trafficking and money laundering.
Guzman was first arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and then extradited to serve a 20-year term in Mexico; however, he escaped in 2001 after hiding in a laundry cart. El Chapo was then recaptured in Sinaloa in 2014 but managed to escape once again the following year. He was finally imprisoned in 2016 and then extradited to the US.