(NewsNation) — Since Jan. 2022, more than 300 people in the United States have been charged or arrested for criminal activity directly linked to Mexican drug cartels, according to a NewsNation analysis.
The total number of crimes that can be traced back to cartels is likely much higher. In fiscal year 2021, for example, the United States Sentencing Commission recorded more than 17,500 drug trafficking cases nationwide.
In some cases — like the undercover drug trafficking investigation in Butte, Montana — authorities have already secured convictions. In others, like the recent bust in South Carolina that led to 170 charges against 43 defendants, the legal process is just getting started.
“It might surprise people that cartel drug trafficking happens in South Carolina, but it does and we’re fighting to stop it,” said South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson in a news release announcing the charges earlier this year.
Arrests linked to cartel activity have also been recorded in states such as Texas, New Mexico, California, and Arizona, and as far north as Washington and Connecticut.
Take a look at the interactive map above for more information on arrests that local and federal authorities have tied to Mexican drug cartels since Jan. 2022.