Cartel Allegedly Targets Alaska For Expanded Drug Territory 

The Sinaloa Cartel is one of Mexico’s most notorious drug trafficking operations. Sadly, it appears to have set its sights on expanding its operations into Alaska. Several cities dotted across the Last Frontier state have been inundated with a drug crisis that shows no signs of slowing down.

Alaska’s terrain and limited accessibility leave law enforcement in a tough spot when trying to combat a drug pipeline moving through the state. Drug traffickers are likely to see Alaska as a profitable market that can be easily monopolized with such little competition.

James Klugman of Alaska’s U.S. Attorney’s Office told USA Today, “All the drug dealers are aware they can make more money selling drugs in Alaska.”

Far removed from the continental United States, many Americans remain in the dark about the devastating effect the influx of fentanyl and other illicit drugs has had on Alaskan’s lives. What seems like a drop in the bucket in larger American cities has decimated Alaska’s communities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, “the biggest percentage increase in overdose deaths in 2021 occurred in Alaska, where deaths were up 75.3%” from the year prior.

With the national death toll from overdoses nearing 107,000, the rate of deaths due to overdoses in Alaska climbed from 20.2 up to 35.6 per 100,000 Alaskans over the course of one year.

Alaska’s mounting drug crisis hasn’t happened without opposition. Alaskan and federal authorities have made major moves to snuff it out, including the arrest of key cartel members.

Still, Alaskan geography alone makes it difficult to target frontrunners in the pipeline. To add insult to injury, personnel shortages add another layer of challenges.

The Sinaloa Cartel is a key player among Mexican cartels which are ushering fentanyl into Alaska at alarming rates that authorities can’t keep up with. The pipeline begins at the Mexico border, but it makes its way up the coast through Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and more West Coast destinations before being shipped to Alaska via boats, the postal service and couriers.

Anchorage may be the largest hub for the drug trade in Alaska, but Juneau is the kickoff point for the southeast region. Drugs coming into the capital city are redistributed to remote villages and coastal islands.

The growing crisis isn’t just targeting major cities though. Small villages with populations as few as 50 people have felt the shift in their culture. Further, when these small communities rely on one another for hunting, fishing and other everyday resources, losing even just one or two of them to addiction poses a threat to the entire village.

Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) has expressed his displeasure with the federal government’s waning efforts to help the situation. Sullivan believes President Joe Biden is responsible for the plethora of drugs coming into the US by way of the Mexican border.

Biden has recently — and quietly — published plans to rebuild a 17-mile-long portion of the border wall, as well as charging China for an alleged collusion with Mexican drug cartels.