US sanctions cartel members operating in Mexico’s busiest seaport

The US Treasury Department Wednesday sanctioned four members of the Jalisco Nueva Generacion Cartel (CJNG) who operate in and around the Mexican port of Manzanillo.

Aldrin Miguel Jarquin Jarquin and Jose Jesus Jarquin Jarquin, who are brothers, along with Cesar Enrique Diaz De Leon Sauceda, are all among the oldest members of the CJNG operating in Manzanillo and elsewhere in the Mexican state of Colima, according to the Treasury. Mexican authorities froze their bank accounts in June 2020, the Treasury said.

A fourth person, Fernando Zagal Anton, is subordinate to the others, according to the Treasury. Together, they coordinate CJNG’s drug smuggling operations across the port and maintain contact with cocaine suppliers in Colombia, the Treasury said.

“CJNG’s criminal success is in part due to its influence over strategic locations such as Manzanillo,” said Andrea M. Gacki, director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Manzanillo is Mexico’s largest seaport, handling more than 40 percent of the country’s total container cargo. During a visit to the port of Manzanillo in July 2020, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador ordered the military to take control of border posts and seaports to fight corruption and the smuggling of drugs and precursors chemicals, according to media reports.

CJNG is responsible for trafficking a significant amount of fentanyl and other drugs that enter the United States, according to the Treasury. Its expansion and control of strategic drug trafficking territory, including the port of Manzanillo, is due in part to violence, the Treasury said.

The cartel, which was sanctioned in 2015 with an allied group, Los Cuinis, has been named by US authorities as one of the most dangerous transnational criminal groups in the world. In March 2020, the US government announced Project Python, a operation against CJNG which has led to more than 600 arrests, 350 indictments and major drug and money seizures. CJNG facilitators have broad business interests, Kharon found in 2018.

Wednesday’s designation marked OFAC’s 15th action against CJNG, Treasury said. The four people sanctioned report to Julio Alberto Castillo Rodriguez, who was appointed in October 2016 and is the son-in-law of CJNG chief Ruben Oseguera Cervantes, the Treasury said. They coordinate with Carlos Andres Rivera Varela and Francisco Javier Gudino Haro, who were sanctioned in April and leading a CJNG enforcement group, Treasury said.

The appointments, including that of April, made it possible to identify the hierarchical structure of the group, according to inSight Crime, which focuses on organized crime in Latin America.

Oseguera Cervantes, also known as “El Mencho”, was nominated in 2015 and the United States awarded a reward of up to $ 10 million for any information leading to his arrest or conviction. In June, her daughter was sentenced in the United States to 30 months in prison after To plead guilty to engage in transactions with Mexican companies sanctioned by the United States for links to drug trafficking.

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