A Mexican drug cartel known for its production and distribution of fentanyl is moving closer to the southern border.

The Sinaloa Cartel, an international crime organization that is considered to be among the most powerful drug-trafficking syndicates in the world, is purportedly moving its operations closer to Texas, according to Mexican authorities.

The cartel has been moving its laboratories into the Monterrey metropolitan area, reported Breitbart, where the Chapitos faction of the criminal group operates.

Mexico’s Navy and the Federal Commission for the Protection of Health Risks recently reported seizing more than 120 tons of various chemical precursors from the cartel in the areas of Sinaloa and Nuevo Leon. Meanwhile, U.S. authorities are battling to stop fentanyl from crossing the border, reported KXAN.

“We are entering the next phase in our fight against fentanyl. We are going after the plaza bosses, whose organizations are responsible for virtually everything that is smuggled into the U.S. via the southwest border,” said Troy Miller, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, at a press conference earlier in April, per KXAN.

Sergio Valenzuela-Valenzuela is the first plaza boss that we target, but he won’t be the last,” he said.

Valenzuela is purportedly in charge of drug trafficking operations for the Sinaloa Cartel in the Nogales, Mexico, and Nogales, Arizona, region, according to Miller. He was indicted in 2018 by a federal grand jury in California on charges of conspiracy to import and distribute controlled substances.

“DEA proactively investigates cartel members and associates, like Sergio Valenzuela-Valenzuela, who allegedly oversee the transportation and distribution of these deadly drugs while interagency partners, like U.S. Customs and Border Protection, interdict shipments at the border before they enter our country,” Anne Milgram, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration administrator, said before a House committee last summer, according to KXAN. “These partnerships ensure those responsible face justice for their crimes.”

The flow of fentanyl across the border has been increasing steadily. U.S. Customs and Border Protection data shows that in FY 2023, 27,000 pounds of fentanyl were seized, up 84% from 2022, when 14,700 pounds of fentanyl were seized, as reported by DX.

The DFW metroplex has also seen a spike in the deadly opioids being found and seized, according to Sgt. Benjamin Banes of the Fort Worth Police Department and Jesse Carr, senior public information officer with the Dallas Police Department.

Both departments are working to combat the flow of the deadly drug into the metroplex, even as DPD continues to suffer from a longstanding police shortage of roughly 1,000 officers, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.