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 Treasury Targets Perpetrators of Mexican Drug Trafficking Violence Tied to Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel


3/24/2010

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WASHINGTON – On the heels of Tuesday's U.S.-Mexico Merida High Level Consultative Group meeting in Mexico City, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated 54 Mexican principal lieutenants and enforcers for Mexico's Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas – groups that are responsible for much of the current bloodshed in Mexico –as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act).  Both the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas were previously identified by the President as significant foreign narcotics traffickers under the Kingpin Act. Today's action builds on the unprecedented efforts of Mexico and the United States to target Mexican drug trafficking organizations and protect citizens on both sides of the border.  U.S. persons are prohibited from conducting financial or commercial transactions with the designees and any assets that the designated individuals may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.   

"The United States remains deeply committed to collaborating with Mexican authorities and President Calderon's unwavering efforts to end the brutality imposed by these ruthless criminal organizations," said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin. "The Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas have terrorized innocent people in Tamaulipas and throughout Mexico. Today's action amplifies Treasury's ongoing efforts to target the support networks of drug organizations worldwide and to deny these criminals access to the international financial sector."

Today's action targets the narcotics traffickers, assassins, money launderers, and enforcers that comprise the support network and underpinnings of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas.  Many of the individuals designated today control the drug trafficking activities in cities and towns largely in the Mexican states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon but also elsewhere throughout Mexico.  In June 2009, 11 of today's designees were indicted for narcotics trafficking in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia:  Jaime Gonzalez Duran, Samuel Flores Borrego, Mario Ramirez Trevino, Alfredo Rangel Buendia, Gilberto Barragan Balderas, Juan Reyes Mejia Gonzalez, Omar Trevino Morales, Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar, Eleazar Medina Rojas, Aurelio Cano Flores, and Sigifredo Najera Talamantes.  Other individuals designated today who have faced federal indictments for violating U.S. narcotics laws include Dimas Gonzalez Rodriguez, Victor Manuel Vasquez Mireles, and Rogelio Gonzalez Pizana.

The President identified the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas as significant foreign narcotics traffickers under the Kingpin Act in 2007 and 2009, respectively.   In July 2009, OFAC designated the four principal leaders of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas.   Today's action is the latest in a series of efforts by OFAC to thwart Mexico's drug cartels.   The Gulf Cartel is responsible for smuggling and distributing significant amounts of cocaine and marijuana to the United States.  Historically, Los Zetas was considered to be the enforcement arm of the Gulf Cartel, but now it operates independently and is waging a fierce battle to control lucrative drug routes.

The U.S. Department of State is offering up to $5 million for information leading to the capture of Omar Trevino Morales, Juan Reyes Mejia Gonzalez, Mario Ramirez Trevino, Gilberto Barragan Balderas, Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar, and Samuel Flores Borrego.   In March 2009, Mexico's Office of the Attorney General announced rewards ranging from $1.2 million (15,000,000 pesos) to $2.4 million (30,000,000 pesos) per individual for information leading to the arrest of certain principal members of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, who have been designated today by OFAC, including Omar Trevino Morales, Ivan Velasquez Caballero, Gregorio Sauceda Gamboa, Flavio Mendez Santiago, Sergio Enrique Ruiz Tlapanco, Lucio Hernandez Lechuga, and Sigifredo Najera Talamantes.  Gregorio Sauceda Gamboa, Sigifredo Najera Talamantes, and Sergio Enrique Ruiz Tlapanco are among those that have been captured by Mexican authorities since March 2009.

Today's action is due in part to OFAC's cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and DEA's Special Operations Division and is part of ongoing efforts under the Kingpin Act to apply financial measures against significant foreign narcotics traffickers worldwide .  Internationally, more than 600 businesses and individuals associated with 82 drug kingpins, 37 of which are based in Mexico, have been designated pursuant to the Kingpin Act since June 2000.  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 of up to $5 million.  Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals face up to 10 years in prison for criminal violation of the Kingpin Act and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code.

A full list of the 54 individuals designated today can be viewed by clicking here .

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