“Los Chapitos” Mexican cartel members sanctioned for fentanyl trafficking
Nine members of the “Los Chapitos” faction of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel were sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury for fentanyl trafficking the agency announced in a news statement on Tuesday. A tenth individual, a leader of Clan del Golfo, one of Colombia’s most significant cocaine cartels, was also sanctioned.
Today’s actions by the U.S. show the government will continue to “target the criminal enterprises threatening international security and flooding our communities with fentanyl and other deadly drugs,” said Brian E. Nelson, under secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence. All properties, transactions or interests in properties in the U.S. or outside within the control or possession of U.S. persons need to be blocked and reported, the news statement said.
The nine “Los Chapitos” sanctioned are part of the Sinaloa Cartel, which the U.S. government says is responsible for large-scale fentanyl and methamphetamine production and trafficking into the United States. In April 2023 the Justice Department charged 28 members – including “El Chapo” Guzman’s three sons Ivan Guzman Salazar, Alfredo Guzman Salazar and Ovidio Guzman Lopez – of the Sinaloa Cartel with fentanyl trafficking. The indictment said cartel associates used corkscrews, electrocution and hot chiles to torture their rivals while some of their victims were “fed dead or alive to tigers.”
Seven of the nine sanctioned were also indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice in April 2023, and in some cases, rewards are offered for information leading to their capture. A reward of up to $1 million dollars has been offered for information leading to the arrest of Jorge Humberto Figueroa Benitez, as leader of “Los Chapitos” security, the U.S. Department said.
Benitez was sanctioned on Tuesday, along with Leobardo Garcia Corrales, Martin Garcia Corrales, Liborio Nunez Aguirre, Samuel Leon Alvarado, Carlos Mario Limon Vazquez, Mario Alberto Jimenez Castro, Julio Cesar Dominguez Hernandez and Jesus Miguel Vibanco Garcia.
Vibanco Garcia, the brother-in-law of Jimenez Castro, often travels to Vancouver, Canada, where he coordinates fentanyl distribution operations, the Treasury Department said in the news statement. Vancouver is “a strategic position” for the Sinaloa Cartel, the agency said, and the U.S. has been working to reduce the flow of illicit drugs across the Northern border.
Stephen Smith contributed to this report.
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