You have probably noticed that most big cartel people charged in the US have been charged under the Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute or more commonly called The Kingpin Statute.
The Kingpin Statute covers only narcotics organization and the RICO act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) is much broader. The cartel bossed could probably have been charged under RICO too, and the cartels have certainly diversified their business, also in the US, to very well qualify, but why are they charged under the Kingpin Statute?
DEA takes point on most of those cases, and CCE is their broad sword. There have been RICO cartel cases, one in San Diego with the Arellano Felix in 2010, or as prosecutors declared it, the Fernando Sanchez Arellano organization.