U.S. freezes assets of 9 individuals linked to 2 Mexican narcos
The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City issued this news release on Thursday Oct. 27.
Washington—Today the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned nine Mexican individuals linked to the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) and its close ally, the Los Cuinis Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO), which were initially sanctioned on April 8, 2015. The nine individuals are designated as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for providing material assistance to the drug trafficking activities of Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes (a.k.a. “Mencho”) and his brother-in-law, Abigael Gonzalez Valencia, the respective leaders of CJNG and the Los Cuinis DTO. As a result of today’s action, any assets these individuals may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
“Today’s action strikes at the inner circles of CJNG and the Los Cuinis DTO by targeting the complicit family members of Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes and Abigael Gonzalez Valencia and other key players in their drug trafficking operations,” said John E. Smith, Acting Director of OFAC. “We will continue to work closely with the Mexican private sector in our efforts to expose, isolate, and disrupt the finances of Mexican cartels.”
Antonio Oseguera Cervantes (Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes’ brother) and Julio Alberto Castillo Rodriguez (Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes’ son-in-law) are among the individuals designated today. Both individuals provided material support to the narcotics trafficking activities of CJNG. Antonio Oseguera Cervantes and Julio Alberto Castillo Rodriguez were arrested in Mexico in December 2015 and April 2016, respectively. In addition, Antonio Oseguera Cervantes served a prison sentence in the United States following a 1996 arrest on heroin charges before being deported to Mexico and reengaging in drug trafficking activity.
Five siblings of Abigael Gonzalez Valencia – Arnulfo, Edgar Eden, Elvis, Marisa Ivette, and Noemi Gonzalez Valencia – are designated for providing material support to the narcotics trafficking activities of the Los Cuinis DTO. Elvis Gonzalez Valencia was arrested in Mexico in January 2016.
Two additional individuals are designated today for supporting the trafficking activities of CJNG and the Los Cuinis DTO. Fabian Felipe Vera Lopez provided material support to the narcotics trafficking activities of the Los Cuinis DTO and served a prison sentence in the United States following a 1996 arrest on methamphetamine charges. Maria Teresa Quintana Navarro is a Guadalajara-based attorney who provided material support to the drug trafficking activities of both CJNG and the Los Cuinis DTO.
In previous actions targeting CJNG and the Los Cuinis DTO, OFAC designated multiple Mexican companies, including Hotelito Desconocido, a luxury boutique hotel that Mexican authorities seized on the same day it was designated. However, other designated entities, such as the shopping centers Plaza Los Tules in Zapopan, Jalisco and Xaman Ha Center in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, continue to operate.
In March 2014, based on an investigation led by the Los Angeles Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia indicted Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes and Abigael Gonzalez Valencia on several narcotics-related charges, including being the principal leaders of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise. Gonzalez Valencia was captured by Mexican authorities in late February 2015, but Oseguera Cervantes remains a fugitive.
The Treasury Department and the DEA Los Angeles Field Division worked closely in order to execute today’s action.
“These designations mark another significant blow to the financiers of CJNG and the Los Cuinis DTO,” said Steve Comer, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Los Angeles Field Division. “Such efforts reflect the brilliant partnership between DEA Los Angeles and OFAC as we target two of the most prolific and violent drug trafficking organizations in the World.”
Since June 2000, more than 1,900 entities and individuals have been named pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their role in international narcotics trafficking. 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 could 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.
To see a chart relating to today’s announcement, click here.
To see the identifying information relating to today’s announcements, click here.
For a complete listing of designations pursuant to the Kingpin Act, click here.