<!-- IMAGE -->
On July 20, as part of an ongoing effort against international drug trafficking, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, designated 4 Mexican drug cartel leaders as Specially Designated Narcotic Traffickers.
The 4 individuals designated by OFAC include Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez alias “El Coss”, and Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, alias “Tony Tormenta” (“Tony Storm”). Both are leaders of the Gulf Cartel, which controls most of the drug smuggling in northeast Mexico. Cardenas is brother to Osiel Cardenas Guillen, former leader of the Gulf cartel who was extradited to the U.S. in 2007.
Also designated were Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, alias “El Lazca” and Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, alias “Zeta Cuarenta” (“Z-40”); the two of them are leaders of “Los Zetas”. Los Zetas is considered the armed wing of the Gulf Cartel, although they often act independently. The U.S Department of State is offering a reward of $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any of these four individuals.
OFAC designation was made under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, which was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1999. The law denies foreign narcotic traffickers access to the U.S. financial system. The Kingpin Act not only prevents drug traffickers, but also their related businesses and operatives, from owning property or money in the United States. Under the act, U.S. citizens and organizations are banned from trading with them or giving them any kind of financial support.
Corporations that break the Kingpin Act ban may face fines up to $10 million. Also, 30 years in prison and fines of up to $5 million may be applied to each of the corporation’s officers who take part in the crime. Other individuals can face up to 10 years in prison. In addition to the criminal penalties, up to $1,075,000 can be assessed as a civil penalty to those who violate the act.
Through measures like the Kingpin Act, the United States reaffirms its commitment to the fight against illegal narcotics, and looks forward to continued close collaboration with Mexico and the rest of its world partners to combat international drug trafficking.