IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. – Six illegal immigrants with ties to a Mexican drug cartel — a rival of the powerful Sinaloa cartel, whose notorious leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was convicted last week — were arrested in an elaborate drug trafficking operation in North Carolina, according to reports.

The massive drug operation included transporting large amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine across state lines, from Texas to Georgia and North Carolina, WSOC reported.

Federal agents identified the suspects as Oscar Rangel-Gutierrez, Regulo Rangel-Gutierrez, Francisco Garcia-Martinez, Rodolfo Martinez, Raul Rangel-Gutierrez and Rigoberto Rangel-Gutierrez.

drug trafficking operation

A massive drug operation with ties to a Mexican drug cartel resulted in the arrest of six immigrants in the country illegally. From left to right, upper row: Oscar Rangel-Gutierrez, Raul Rangel-Gutierrez, Regulo Rangel Gutierrez; lower row ( L to R) Rodolfo Martinez, Rigoberto Rangel-Gutierrez and Francisco Garcia-Martinez. (Booking photos via WSOC/J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

“Members of the investigative team believe — based on wire intercepts, surveillance and other facts discovered from the investigation — that Oscar and Regulo transport illicit proceeds, derived from the sales of narcotics, when they travel from Myrtle Beach to Charlotte,” according to federal court documents, WMBF reported.

Misty Joyner, who reportedly lived near the home in Charlotte where investigators said Rangel-Gutierrez stored drug money, was in disbelief about her neighbors.

“Just devastating,” Joyner told WSOC. “They were good people.”

Rangel-Gutierrez is affiliated with the upstart Jalisco New Generation cartel, Fox News reported. The newly formed organization has tried to stage incursions into Sinaloa territory. As a result, it has led to bloody turf battles in places like Tijuana. The border city across from San Diego has become one of the world’s deadliest cities.

Sinaloa’s leader, Guzman, was convicted last Tuesday in New York, likely meaning he will spend decades behind bars in the United States.

He gained infamy for twice pulling off brazen escapes from maximum-security prisons, earning him international notoriety perhaps rivaled only by the late Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.