MEXICO CITY — The Sinaloa Cartel is rebranding their blow with a bit of inspiration from business magnate Elon Musk and legendary fashion designer Mario Prada.
Mexico City authorities busted narcos moving 1.6 tons of cocaine through the capital earlier this week, with much of the drug's packaging stamped with the logos of Tesla and Prada.
Police found the haul—one of the largest in Mexico City history—in two tractor trailers as it traversed the outskirts of the city, along with a third vehicle that was said to be protecting the shipment. Authorities arrested four men involved in transporting the drugs.
Mexico City Police Chief Omar Harfuch gave a press conference to announce what he called the “largest cocaine seizure in Mexico City” in the past 12 years. He estimated that the coke would fetch around $20 million on the streets of Mexico, or roughly the price of 400 Tesla Model 3s.
Harfuch alleged that the cocaine had arrived from Colombia in an area around the coastal city of Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca state. The blow was on route to the infamous Tepito neighborhood of Mexico City, where some of it was to be sold locally around the capital. The remainder allegedly was headed north to the U.S.
While Harfuch did not point the finger directly at the Sinaloa Cartel, he did say that the men arrested “are from a criminal group that operates in (the northwestern states of) Durango and Sinaloa.” Local media later identified them as being members of the Sinaloa Cartel.
The record bust took place after increased police operations against Sinaloa Cartel operatives working in and around Mexico City.
On July 12, law enforcement engaged in a bloody shootout with alleged members of the Sinaloa Cartel in the neighborhood of Topilejo in southern Mexico City. A total of 150 officers and three helicopters waged war against the alleged Sinaloa Cartel operatives, who returned fire with a wide arsenal of weapons, including grenades and an extremely dangerous .50-caliber sniper rifle. Four officers were wounded and 14 people were arrested. Four were later released for lack of evidence.
Authorities later alleged that the remaining detainees were members of a Sinaloa Cartel faction connected to the sons of incarcerated trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, collectively known as the Chapitos.
Over the past two-plus years roughly 50 members of the Sinaloa Cartel have been arrested for operating in Mexico City, according to prominent Mexican newspaper El Universal. In previous raids, drug packages were labelled with the Toyota logo.
The use of popular brand names to label drug packages is hardly new in Mexico. It is often used to differentiate quality, product, or the intended final destination of the contraband.
But the use of the Tesla logo comes just months after the company's founder, Elon Musk, said on Twitter that he was “buying Coca-Cola to put the cocaine back in.”
It was considered a joke at the time.