On March 6, 2012, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on Jesus Reynaldo Zambada Garcia, a prominent member of the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico. Under the Kingpin Act, Garcia is now designated a significant foreign narcotics trafficker or kingpin. This bans Garcia, his enterprises and operatives from trading with U.S. individuals and freezes all of his U.S. financial assets. Two companies connected to the Sinaloa cartel were also designated on the same day.
Mexican authorities arrested Garcia in 2008 for his activities with the Sinaloa cartel, one of the most powerful narcotics operations in the world. He oversaw the traffic of drugs through the Mexico City International Airport, an operation he carried out for his brother, Ismael, a 2002 designated kingpin.
His arrest came out of the efforts of U.S. Operation Xcellerator, a 2007 multi-national and multi-agency raid specifically aimed at the Sinaloa cartel. The operation lasted 21 months and ended in the arrest of 781 individuals. Approximately $61 million in US currency and $10.5 million in drug-related assets were seized.
Garcia was indicted by U.S. federal courts in Brooklyn and Chicago and currently awaits extradition to the United States. Sanctions under the Kingpin Act are a move to further disrupt the Sinaloa cartel’s money laundering and drug trafficking network.
An individual is designated a kingpin when they control “a multi-million and frequently multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise,” said Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William Brownfield in a recent interview.
The Kingpin Act cripples the kingpins’ ability to pay employees, move money, and move drug products to market, Assistant Secretary of State Brownfield said: “They need access to financial systems, they need access to banks, they need access to legal businesses that they can buy or register and by designating someone a kingpin, that becomes much, much more complicated.”
The Kingpin Act is one of many initiatives the U.S. uses to fight drug-trafficking and violence in Mexico and around the world.
This is “a very effective legal sanction” to counter drug trafficking by high profile kingpins, said Assistant Secretary of State Brownfield. “It hurts them, where they are most vulnerable and that is in their wallet.”