Inside the Cartel

    Key documents behind the Times series
    Graphic: The cocaine road map

    For sev­er­al years, the U.S. Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion put the dis­tri­bu­tion side of Mex­ico’s Sin­aloa car­tel un­der a mi­cro­scope. This series de­scribes the de­tailed pic­ture that emerged of how the car­tel moves drugs in­to South­ern Cali­for­nia and across the United States. Times staff writer Richard Marosi re­viewed hun­dreds of pages of re­cords, in­clud­ing DEA in­vest­ig­at­ive re­ports, prob­able-cause af­fi­davits, and tran­scripts of court testi­mony and phone sur­veil­lance. Read the full Times series. »

    Part 1: A border battle of wits

    As Mexico's Sinaloa cartel sent a never-ending stream of drugs through the Calexico crossing, its lookouts kept a constant watch. What they didn't know was that someone was watching them, and listening to every word. Read the story.

    Part 2: Shipping and the supernatural

    Channeling a nonstop river of cocaine onto trucks bound for the East required a vast labyrinth of workers in L.A. And women like Lupita, a no-nonsense fortuneteller with a short fuse. Read the story.

    Part 3: Clear skies and cocaine

    Times were good for a Carlsbad pilot ferrying cocaine across the country for the Sinaloa cartel. But the men at the other end — they worried him. Read the story.

    Part 4: Showdown in Sinaloa

    Why were cocaine shipments being seized all over the United States? The boss in Mexico was demanding answers.

    Credits: Richard Marosi, Maloy Moore, Ben Welsh