“Synthetic drugs [are] the number one killer of Americans aged 18 to 49, notably fentanyl,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his opening speech of the Virtual Ministerial Meeting to Launch the Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drugs. That’s why tackling drug trafficking, a critical driver of the epidemic in the United States, is among President Biden’s top priorities.
On July 12, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, sanctioned 10 Mexican individuals and one entity, pursuant to Executive Order 14059, for their part in trafficking fentanyl.
The sanctioned individuals operate under the Los Chapitos faction of the Sinaloa Cartel. According to Secretary Blinken, the sanctioned individuals “are responsible for a significant portion of the illicit fentanyl and other deadly drugs trafficked into the United States.”
Designated by OFAC were Mexican nationals Dora Vanessa Valdez Fernandez, who purchases precursor chemicals from Ludim Zamudio Lerma; Nestor Isidro Perez Salas, also known as “Nini,” and Oscar Noe Medina Gonzalez, otherwise known as “Panu”, both of whom are fentanyl traffickers and violent enforcers for Los Chapitos; and Jeuri Limon Elenes, who traffics in methamphetamine.
OFAC designated Noel Lopez Perez, Ricardo Paez Lopez, Dora Vanessa Valdez Fernandez, Nestor Isidro Perez Salas, Oscar Noe Medina Gonzalez, and Jeuri Limon Elenes for their engagement or attempted engagement in, activities or transactions that have materially contributed to, or pose a significant risk of materially contributing to, the international proliferation of illicit drugs or their means of production.
At the same time, OFAC sanctioned one Mexico-based entity, the import/export company REI Compania Internacional, “which regularly receives chemical shipments from exporters in the People’s Republic of China.” Also designated was Eliseo de Leon Becerra, for being a leader or official of REI Compania Internacional.
Finally, OFAC designated Mexican nationals Angel Guillermo Zamudio Lerma, Daniel Zamudio Lerma, and Jorge Alberto Zamudio Lerma for being or having been leaders or officials of Aceros y Refacciones del Humaya, an entity designated by OFAC in February 2023.
“On my visit to the southwest border, I’ve seen how Treasury’s authorities can best be used to expose and isolate those who profit from deadly fentanyl sales in the United States,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson. “Today’s sanctions demonstrate our ability and our resolve to exploit the financial vulnerabilities of networks involved in the illicit fentanyl trade.”