Key Assassin for Sinaloa Drug Cartel Extradited to the United States

On May 25th, the Justice Department announced that a senior assassin for the Sinaloa cartel, who was apprehended by Mexican police last October, has been extradited to the United States to face charges related to narcotics, weapons, and witness retaliation.

The sons of the incarcerated drug kingpin Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán were protected by Néstor Isidro Pérez Salas (referred to as El Nini), and he also assisted his Chapo’s sons in their drug trade, according to federal authorities. The men are in charge of a group called Chapitos (Little Chapos), and they’re infamous for smuggling the deadly synthetic narcotic fentanyl into the United States.

Roughly 70,000 people die each year in the US from overdoses caused by fentanyl.

There is a significant danger of addiction and dependency with the use of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid medicine that the FDA has authorized for pain relief. When mixed with other chemicals, particularly alcohol or other illegal narcotics like cocaine or heroin, or consumed in large dosages, it may induce respiratory distress and even death.

Last year, many indictments were brought against cartel officials by the Justice Department. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) put up a $3 million reward for the arrest of Pérez Salas (31). Last November, he was apprehended at a fortified location in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa, Mexico.

According to an unsealed indictment from 2023, a particularly vicious gang of Chapito security guards, the Ninis, were under Pérez Salas’s supervision. Urban warfare and unique weaponry were among the many areas of warfare in which the Ninis were trained.

The Mexican slang term “Nini” refers to young people who do not work or go to school. The Ninis committed horrific acts of brutality, as stated in the indictment.

According to authorities, Pérez Salas was involved in the torture of a Mexican federal agent in 2017. A corkscrew was reportedly inserted into the man’s muscles, and hot chilies were applied to the wounds as he and others subjected him to two hours of torture.

The indictment said that the Ninis would bring their captured enemies to the ranches held by the Chapitos so that they could be executed. Some of the victims would be given to the tigers that the Chapitos kept as pets, whether they were alive or dead.

Former US Drug Enforcement Administration chief of international operations Mike Vigil characterized Salas as a psychopath upon his arrest.