Here is an excerpt from Patrick Corcoran's excellent analysis on InSightCrime.org:
"U.S. authorities announced the break up of an Arizona gang said to be working for Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, though how far this will really be a blow for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera's organization is a matter of debate. Officials expressed satisfaction at the arrest of 27 members of the Jesus Valencia Rodriguez Organization, capturing more than half the group's known membership... While the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) linked those arrested in Arizona directly to Guzman Loera's Sinaloa Cartel, it is not clear how close the relationship actually is. The authorities said that the Jesus Valencia Rodriguez organization had direct ties not to Guzman or his partner Ismael Zambada, but to the Paez Soto family, which operates in Caborca, Sinaloa. Furthermore, authorities said that the Jesus Valencia Rodriguez group is based in Mexico, so it is unclear how close those arrested were to the top of that organization. In the past, U.S. authorities have played up connections between Americans arrested in drug sweeps and their more notorious suppliers in Mexico, despite a enormous geographical and operational distance between the two... According to the AP, this was typical. Many of those whose arrests were hailed as an unprecedented strike against Guzman and other Mexican capos were low-level American pushers whose place in the global narcotics supply chain was so far removed from Sinaloa that they had no idea that it even existed." Link to Full Article
Analysis: First, I highly recommend that you read the entire article, because it brings up some really important points. Second, I only wanted to add to Patrick's excellent analysis because I've written somewhat tangentially about this subject before. The drug war is filled with exaggerations and misinformation, and it's a source of much frustration for me.
There are dozens of examples like the ones Patrick points out regarding the association between drug dealers arrested here in the US and major cartels in Mexico. In addition to Operation Xcellerator in 2009, which was decidedly NOT a crushing blow to the Sinaloa Federation, US authorities have carried out massive gang sweeps and one operation against members of La Familia Michoacana in 2010. That one was also labeled a "crushing blow," and was similarly no such thing.
Then there are attempts to link domestic marijuana growers and drug-dealing gang members to the major cartels. We know the link is there, but proving it - especially in court - is challenging at best. When Mexicans are brought by the DTOs into the US for the purpose of growing marijuana in our national parks and forests, those Mexicans usually don't know who they're working for. And that's intentional; if they're caught, there's nothing they can confess to the police. Drug distribution operations in the US are run by the DTOs like a terrorist cell structure. There are many levels of middle and lower management, and US-based gangs are subcontracted out to sell to users on the street; they often don't know exactly where the drugs come from for the same reason - they can't be traced back to a particular DTO or drug lord.
While it looks great in the media to tout a major drug bust or arrest of several hundred purported members of a major DTO inside the US, those reports are often inaccurate and misleading. Making a seizure of a few hundred pounds of marijuana here, a few pounds of heroin or methamphetamine there, and arresting a few hundred gang members isn't going to crush American drug demand OR Mexican DTO operations any time soon.