A new report from Mexico's El Universal sheds light on a network of deals made between US law enforcement agencies and the Sinaloa drug cartel, which in some cases saw active members of the cartel being given immunity in exchange for incriminating details about rival groups. The report, assembled from over a hundred interviews over the past year, breaks out a number of individual cases in which agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency or the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement deferred a Sinaloa member's prosecution, hoping to gain a mole with the organization, only to find the suspect return to Sinaloa and only offer information on opposing cartels.

To the DEA, these operations were in line with standard law enforcement procedure, deferring small-fry prosecutions on the way to a larger case. But for Mexican authorities, this strategy seems like a deal with the devil, providing Sinaloa a new way to eradicate their competition and consolidate power. "This way of operating involves a violation of public international law, adding more fuel to the fire of violence and civil rights violations," law professor Edgardo Buscaglia told El Universal. The cartel is widely considered to be the largest drug trafficking organization in the world.