Action Targets Spouse of Captured
Drug Lord Miguel Trevino Morales
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets
Control (OFAC) today designated Juanita del Carmen Rios Hernandez and her
medical supply company Distribuidora e Importadora de Productos Medicos del
Norte as specially designated narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Foreign
Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). Juanita del Carmen Rios Hernandez is the spouse
of Mexican drug lord Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, a leader of Los Zetas drug cartel,
who is jailed in Mexico and faces multiple federal indictments in the United
States for narcotics and money laundering violations. Prior to his arrest, Miguel Trevino Morales,
along with his brother, Omar Trevino Morales, directed the vast drug trafficking
activities of Los Zetas, one of Mexico’s most violent and powerful drug
Juanita del Carmen Rios Hernandez owns and operates
Distribuidora e Importadora de Productos Medicos del Norte, a company involved
in the importation, distribution, and sale, of medical supplies in Monterrey,
Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Juanita del Carmen
Rios Hernandez incorporated this company in 2009 and is its principal
shareholder. Today’s action, pursuant to the Kingpin Act,
prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions
with Juanita del Carmen Rios Hernandez or her company, and freezes any assets
she or her company may have under U.S. jurisdiction.
“OFAC will be
relentless in sanctioning Los Zetas’ leadership and associates to weaken and
ultimately collapse the financial infrastructure of this ruthless cartel,” said
OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin. “This
action builds on the consistent efforts of Treasury and our U.S. and Mexican
law enforcement partners to target those operating on behalf of Los Zetas.”
The President identified Los Zetas as a significant foreign
narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Kingpin Act in April 2009. On July 24, 2011, the President named Los
Zetas a significant Transnational Criminal Organization in the Annex to
Executive Order 13581 (Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal
Organizations). OFAC designated Los
Zetas leaders Miguel and Omar Trevino Morales on July 20, 2009, and March 24,
2010, respectively. On July 15, 2013,
Mexican authorities arrested Miguel Trevino Morales. Today’s action was undertaken with the
support of the Government of Mexico.
Los Zetas distribute narcotics and launder tens of millions
of dollars in illicit proceeds from international drug sales. Today’s action is OFAC’s fifth designation in
a string of actions since last year aimed at Los Zetas leadership. In
2013, Treasury aggressively targeted Los Zetas with four separate designation actions. On August 1, 2013, Treasury designated
Carolina Fernandez Gonzalez, wife of Zeta boss Omar Trevino Morales, her
father, Jesus Fernandez de Luna, and his cattle sales company, Compania Ganadera
5 Manantiales. Omar Trevino Morales
established this company for his wife and her father-in-law as a money
laundering front to be used by Los Zetas.
Through this and other actions, Treasury exposed various aspects of Los
Zetas activities, including its bulk cash and drug smuggling operations, its
international financial operations, and the businesses used by Los Zetas
leaders to launder their illicitly gained funds.
in 2012, OFAC designated Francisco Colorado Cessa and his oil services company,
ADT Petroservicios, for laundering Los Zetas drug proceeds through the purchase
of valuable quarter horses for Miguel Trevino Morales and Omar Trevino Morales.
These designations were made in
coordination with money laundering charges filed against Colorado Cessa and
others in the Western District Court of Texas, Austin Division. In 2013, Colorado Cessa was convicted and
sentenced to a 20-year prison term.
Internationally, OFAC has designated more than 1,300
individuals and entities linked to 103 drug kingpins since June 2000. OFAC designations are part of an ongoing
effort to apply financial measures against significant foreign narcotics
traffickers and their organizations worldwide.
Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties
of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may
include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10
million. Other individuals face up to 10
years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for
criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.
For a chart relating to today’s
actions click here.