Treasury identifies dangerous Mexican cartel bosses

In order of their outpost from west to east, the men are: Cenobio Flores Pacheco, Armando Lopez Aispuro, Guillermo Nieblas Nava, Raul Sabori Cisneros, Ramon Ignacio Paez Soto, Felipe De Jesus Sosa Canisales, Jesus Alfredo Salazar Ramirez and Jose Javier Rascon Ramirez – most of them also have aliases.

They depend on violence and hit men to keep power in their designated area, according to the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), the agency tasked with enforcing financial sanctions on named terrorists and drug smugglers.

The DEA, OFAC and the Customs and Border Protection worked together with the Mexican government to compile evidence against the men, said OFAC Director Adam Szubin.

By bringing out these “pretty serious players,” Szubin said in a call with reporters, law enforcement will begin to see “follow-on” effects, including people being more aware of the individuals, denying them access to formal banking processes – and hopefully, arrests and fines.

“In order to put organizations like the Sinaloa Cartel out of business, we must continue to utilize every tool available to ensure that these criminal groups and their associates cannot exploit the U.S. financial system,” said Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) special agent in charge, Doug Coleman.

The actions come on the heels of President Obama’s trip to Mexico, and members of law enforcement, Treasury and immigration agencies thanked authorities south of the border for helping with the investigations.

Special Agent Carl Pike, with the Drug Enforcement Agency, said the Sinaloa Cartel is the oldest and most established in Mexico. As other cartels are growing weaker because of in-house fighting, Sinaloa is only growing stronger, he said.

This is the fifteenth sanctioning action Treasury has taken against members of the cartel, or shell corporations it uses to launder money, since last January.

Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman Loera, and Ismael “Mayo” Zambada Garcia run the organized crime and drug trafficking organization, which is named after the region in Mexico where it was formed.

The Sinaloa Cartel controls 80 percent of the methamphetamine trade in the U.S., Mexico and Asia, according to a report released by Mexican researchers last month. It also deals cocaine, marijuana and opiates.

Since June 2000, more than 95 individuals have been identified as drug kingpins and OFAC designated more than 1,200 businesses and individuals. Civil penalties for violating the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act are upwards of $1 million per violation, with even stricter criminal charges – upwards of $5 million to $10 million in fines, and up to 30 years in prison.